Sustainability; looking to our future


Previously, we talked about climate change and the scary reality that comes with that - but now we want to share some interesting projects that provide positive options for tackling the climate emergency!



Rewilding


Rewilding Britain defines rewilding as the “large-scale restoration of ecosystems to the point where nature is allowed to take care of itself”[1]. Restoring and supporting our diverse ecosystems can have great benefits for both nature and humans.


It is estimated that the restoration and protection of woodland and environments such as peat bogs, heaths, and grasslands on a large scale ( over 6 million hectares) could sequester 47 million tonnes of CO2 per year [2]. Rewilding also supports and provides habitats for wildlife, infact rewilding has the potential to save a significant number of species from decline and possible extinction as a result of climate change [2]. Focusing on projects like this offer a positive pathway moving forward!





Sea Grass


Another exciting option is the cultivation of seagrass. Seagrasses are marine flowering plants found in shallow waters, they can be found in 159 countries over 6 continents [3].


Investing in seagrass meadows may be a very useful nature based approach to mitigating some of the impacts of climate change. Seagrass meadows have proven to be very important in many ways. They provide shelter and food for endangered and threatened species in addition to thousands of fish and shellfish species [3]. In addition to this they improve water quality by filtering and storing pollutants and decrease the amount of pathogens - which in addition to reducing coral disease and protects the health and wellbeing of humans! [3]. Seagrass can also capture carbon from the atmosphere! In fact it is estimated that seagrass can do this 35 times faster than rainforests![6]. Clearly there is a huge benefit to the planting and investment in the future of seagrass.


However a challenge lies ahead. Huge losses in the amount of seagrass habitats mean that large efforts need to be made in the cultivation of seagrass restoration. If these efforts are successful there may be potential for huge benefits world wide!





There are many examples showing us the innovation and determination of individuals in the face of climate change. Here are a couple of our favourites from recent years:



Composting toilets in Haiti

Many parts of the world do not have adequate toilet and sanitation facilities, resulting in human waste polluting aquatic ecosystems. Alongside this, intensive agricultural practices have depleted the soil’s nutrients and reduced soil biodiversity , leading to several consequences from reduced crop production to malnutrition. SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) is a non-profit organisation in Haiti which provides revolutionary toilets that collect human waste from communities, treat it and then transform it into compost. These actions reduce the spread of water-borne diseases and protect aquatic ecosystems through providing safe and contained toilets and provide economic growth for communities through the use of the compost in agriculture.


Forest Green Rovers


FGR is the world’s first football club to be certified carbon neutral and is the only vegan football club. Not only are the football kits made of 50% bamboo but this but the club is solely powered by green energy from solar panels; the team play on an organic pitch free from pesticides; rainwater is collected to irrigate the pitch and electrical vehicle charge points are provided as fans are encouraged to choose green travel to the stadium. This forward thinking club is showing the world that making sustainable choices is possible.




What can you do?

If like us you are always wondering what you can do to help, here are some pointers in the right direction. Please let us know of any initiatives or things you do daily to live more sustainably!


  • Take some time to look for any initiatives tackling poverty (as this inadvertently impacts the climate crisis) and see how you can support and or raise awareness! You don’t have to run a marathon or raise hundreds of pounds for a cause (though that is fab), sharing information on your social media platforms , signing a petition or starting conversations with friends/family/colleagues about these issues is an amazing start… and super easy to do!


  • OLIO is a food sharing app which was founded by two women, which is tackling the food wastage problem (did you know that ⅓ of the world’s food goes to waste?!). All you have to do is download the app, upload a photo of what you have to give away and when and where it can be picked up! Sharing food is not your thing? Why not invest in a compost bin - a super easy way to recycle your food waste and get some free compost to use in your garden!


  • One man’s trash is another man’s treasure...Could you find a similar outfit to the one in your online basket for half the price? Charity shops, car boot sales and eBay are great places to find second-hand clothes (and if you’re like me you also get a real adrenaline rush when you land a bargain)! I recently downloaded Vinted and have ditched my post-work Instagram scrolls for Vinted scrolls - and have both bought and sold clothes (result!!).


  • Everyday is a school day! Mix up your Netflix binges and watch some cool documentaries to learn more. Recently I watched a channel 5 documentary ‘Inside Chernobyl with Ben Fogle’ where the presenter learned about the rewilding project in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.


  • Looking for a UK vacay this Summer? Knepp Estate in West Sussex is the home of an exciting rewilding project, where there now lives breeding populations of rare species including turtle doves, peregrine falcons, purple emperor butterflies, amongst large populations of more common species. You can see these species for yourself, and how a rewilded patch of Britain looks like by taking a safari at the estate or staying on their campsite and glamping site!



It can be difficult to envision what a sustainable future actually looks like. A sustainable way of living will look different for people in different areas of the world. The ability to live a sustainable life depends on a variety of factors, an important one being accessibility. The options available to some may not be to others.




If you want to know more about the latest project winners of the UN Global Climate Action Awards, click here.




References



  1. Rewilding Britain, 2021, Defining Rewilding, Rewilding Britain [online]Available at: https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/explore-rewilding/what-is-rewilding/defining-rewildin

  2. Rewilding Britain, 2021, Why We Need Rewilding, Rewilding Britain [online] https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/explore-rewilding/what-is-rewilding/why-we-need-rewilding

  3. United Nationns Environment, 2020, Out of the Blue : The Value of Seagrass to the Environment and to People , UNEP[online] Available at: https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/32637/seagrassSum.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

  4. World Wide Fund For Nature, 2021, Planting Hope: Seagrass, WWF, [online] Available at: https://www.wwf.org.uk/what-we-do/planting-hope-how-seagrass-can-tackle-climate-change



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