UN Launches The Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
January marked the beginning of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The science says that these next ten years are humanity’s last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change, to prevent the destruction of the complex ecosystems we all depend on.
Led by the UN Environment Programme and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration calls itself a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature.
Two of the eleven UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species of Lepidoptera identified in our nature reserve:  White letter hairstreak butterfly,  dot moth caterpillar.
It is, in fact, a challenge to every single one of us; we have to take this personally now. We need to recognise that it’s not just big international organisations that have to act so urgently, but that each of us must now step up to the plate. This is our chance to halt the degradation of local ecosystems, restore previously damaged areas and protect our precious green spaces and the wildlife that inhabits them.
At the national level, email your local MP and ask him what is delaying the Environment Bill. Touted by our government as world-beating green legislation that would put the environment at the centre of all our future policy making, the bill was supposed to have been enacted by January 2021 to replace EU legislation as we finally cut our ties with Europe. Instead, it is becalmed in the Parliamentary system somewhere between its second and third readings, months away from completion. Meanwhile, to encourage us out of Covid-recession, the construction industry regulations are being rewritten without that over-arching environmental protection in place yet.
Two of the UK BAP Priority Species of mammal resident in our nature reserve:  Bechstein’s bat,  water vole.
Remember: the Prime Minister called all our efforts to protect our local environment and its biodiversity mere newt-counting, a drag on economic recovery. We really do need that Environment Bill but we also need to be aware that our government, no matter what it says, does not appear to be in the business of protecting our local environment; that is down to us.
At the local level, join in Wiltshire Council’s local plan review; the period of public consultation ended on March 9th but that does not mean that your voice will not be heard. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Spatial Planning, Economic Development and Planning, County Hall, Bythesea Road, TROWBRIDGE, Wiltshire, BA14 8JN. If we do not raise our concerns, the people who make the kind of decisions that result in biodiversity loss and its resulting environmental degradation may assume that there are no concerns,
Two of the five UK BAP Priority Herptile Species resident in our nature reserve:  common toad,  grass snake.
Ask the planning department why there is not a masterplan in place to protect the biodiversity of the Lambrok Corridor as was required by the Secretary of State’s Inspector in his 2019 report on Wiltshire’s Housing Site Allocation Plan. Ask why the sites allocated for development to the east and south of Trowbridge are being permitted to close the flight corridor of precious, rare and protected species of bats that roost in Green Lane and Biss Woods and forage in our nature reserve at Southwick.
While the UN makes faraway decisions that sound as if they are much more about Amazonian rainforests or African savannahs than they are about us, we are the catalysts. The decisions we make here, in our towns and villages, our little nature reserves and our own gardens, are the things that will count in the end.
Header picture: a wood pigeon, one of our most common residents, photographed in the park by Suzanne Humphries.