Conservation News

Life's most persistent and urgent question is:  what are you doing for others?
Martin Luther King Jr 

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Category: Making Lifestyle Changes to help

  1. Arctic Sea Ice Day is on 15th July....

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    This morning I was on the website of Polar Bears International.   They are the only organization dedicated to wild polar bears and they know a great deal about them – they are the true experts when it comes to these magnificent animals.

    The non-profit organisation exists to help secure a future for polar bears across the Arctic and they are based in the US and Canada.

    A news item on their website caught my attention about Arctic Sea Ice Day which takes place on 15th July.   Written by BJ Kirschhoffer, Director of Field Operations, it talks about sea ice.

    Kirschhoffer says sea ice is an essential habitat for polar bears – he describes it as "a frozen platform that allows an entire ecosystem to function".

    He goes on to explain that sea ice can take the form of large expanses of flat ice, with snow on top.  Or, it can be small pieces which float like ice pieces in a glass of water. 

    Scientists have been mapping the sea ice extent with satellites since 1979 and they’ve produced charts with its reach and coverage. 

    And this summer, Kirschhoffer was asked to join a Quark Expedition ship as a representative of Polar Bears International, to talk about polar bears and why sea ice is so important to them.

    Kirschhoffer says the trip was amazing and he saw a great deal of wildlife - the polar bear, the bowhead whale, ivory gull, walrus, ringed and bearded seal, reindeer, arctic fox, puffin, king eider, common eider, guillemot, auk, and geese.

    But he realized the trip was in early June.  The boat shouldn’t have been able to travel in and around Spitsbergen and the islands without having trouble with ice.   In the past, straits and fjords were packed with ice or totally frozen.  Travel would have been impossible. 

    This year however, the ship had near total freedom to sail.   The Svalbard Ice area was well below the 1981 to 2010 average for sea ice extent.  It was also well below the minimum sea ice ever recorded for 1981-2010, at just below 200,000 square kilometers.

    Almost all the wildlife Kirschhoffer saw on the trip requires sea ice for survival.  

    So Polar Bears International are asking us all to share their 10 facts about Arctic sea ice as widely as we can so that people understand why it matters and to get involved in their efforts and help reverse the trend.

    The most important fact for me is the one which says we can do something about the loss of sea ice.  Everyone can help.

    Polar Bears International says: "The key to getting the climate system back to functioning the way it should, and to preserving a future for polar bears across the Arctic, is to move away from using fossil fuels for energy altogether. "

    We need to use far less of the kind of energy that adds heat-trapping gases to our atmosphere and move towards renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

    This will help reduce the carbon emissions that are causing the planet to warm and the sea ice to melt.

    Help save ice by:

    1. Find out about your local and regional renewable energy options and programs.  What can you tap into?

    2. Supporting a state/province/country-wide renewable energy program.
    Let local leaders know that you want efficiency standards and renewable energy sources for constructing, heating, cooling, and lighting the places where we all work and live.

    3. Sharing their new Arctic Sea Ice Day video filmed in Svalbard, and encourage others to join your efforts!  Share, share and share to show how we can all make a difference at home and influence decisions on where our energy comes from. 

    Please share Polar Bears International's information about the Arctic sea ice and how we can reverse the trend.

    It will help polar bears and an entire ecosystem and benefit all our wellbeing. 



  2. Who says levying 5p on plastic bags doesn’t make a difference? It does!

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    I was reading through the excellent magazine Natur from the North Wales Wildlife Trust this morning.

    One piece of news particularly caught my eye and just shows how levying the 5p on carrier bags can help wildlife.

    The support of Tesco’s customers through this levy has enabled the North Wales Wildlife Trust to manage the Riwledyn Nature Reserve.  This is a 12 acre reserve close to the sea.  They’ve been able to maintain areas of limestone grassland and protect local wildlife.

    In 2017, the Trust:

    • Purchased new hand-tools, 2 new brush-cutters, personal protective equipment and fencing materials to facilitate grassland and grazing management.   Three volunteers were trained in the art of using a brush-cutter.
    • A group walk in July spotted a dark-red helleborine – the first time this orchid has been spotted at the reserve – plus spiked speedwell, white horehound and a loud chattering of chough
    • Local volunteers and youth groups (Conwy Healthy Image Group and Itaca Youth Group) helped to install 2 new oak benches along a busy section of the Wales Coast Path – and they’re proving very popular for people to use after climbing up and over the Little Orme!

    Find your local branch of the North Wales Wildlife Trust here©Lin Cummins

    Visit the North Wales Wildlife Trust
     and find out how you can make a difference.

    You can find your local branch here.

  3. A quarter of UK dinners have no meat or fish

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    Research shows that over 25% of all evening meals in the UK are either vegan or vegetarian.  Kantar Worldpanel's research shows that in the 12 weeks to January's end, 29% of them had no meat or fish. 

    Trends such as Veganuary - that's going vegan for January - and a continual interest in meat free diets are affecting people's habits.   Quorn Foods saw its global sales rise by 16% last year.

    The research was collected from a consumer panel of 30,000 households.  It shows a year on year move to more vegetarian meals.  In 2014, 26.9 of evening meals were vegetarian and this rose to 27.8 in 2016.  

    During January, 10% of shoppers bought a meat-free ready meal - so sales had risen by 15% compared with the previous year.

    Vegetables such as spinach and aubergine were up 43% and 23% respectively, compared to the last 12 months.

    Vegetarian and Vegan Books from Amazon

    Vegetarian books from Foyles

    Visit the Vegetarian Society

    Vsit the Vegan Society

    Compassion in World Farming


  4. South Korea to scrap coal and nuclear power

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    Greenpeace's EnergyDesk reports that the new President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, has commited South Koare to phasing out all coal and nuclear power stations.

    This suggests a major change in the country's energy policy and a new internatinoal commitment to move away from coal since Trump pulled America out of the Paris climate agreement. 

    Moon made a speech at a ceremony which shut down the country's oldest coal station, in which he promised to:

    • scrap existing plans for new nuclear plants
    • not extend the life of existing ones,
    • shut down 10 old coal power plants and
    • cancel new coal projects.

    Moon noted that so far the country's energy policy has focused on low prices and efficiency but that this should change, the priority now being on public safety and the environment. 

    South Korea is one of the top producers of nuclear power in the world and was looking to export its expertise and technology.

    But air pollution has recently risen up the political agenda, as South Korean was at risk of becoming one of the more polluted countries in the world. 

    Back in January 2017, a study from researchers at Harvard University and Greenpeace International said approximately 50,000 lives a year could be saved by 2030 if no new coal-fired power plants are built in Southeast Asia, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

    At a recent meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Moon recently  suggested a 20% renewable energy target by 2030 and says South Korean will actively share their experience in building renewable energy sources and environmentally friendly energy towns with other AIIB countries