The recovery of nature has never been more urgent. In local wildlife and green places, Staffordshire residents have one of the most powerful tools for fighting climate change right here on our doorsteps. Each action may be small, but by joining together as wild activists we can aim for global impact. It has been estimated that healthy natural systems could provide one-third of the most cost effective ways of fighting climate change.
This matters now because the UK is hosting COP26 (The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties) between 1st and 12th November. The role of nature is one of the topics at the forefront of the conference. The decisions made here will be crucial. It is vital that global and local leaders take strong action to place nature’s recovery at the heart of our response.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust (SWT) is calling for all residents, businesses and leaders to take three key actions now:
- Take part in #gopotty by planting seeds that will feed bees and butterflies all year round
- Go on a Big Wild Walk for nature
- Report wildlife sightings to the Staffordshire Ecological Record so SWT can analyse what impact climate change is having on local wildlife and what can be done to help. Report sightings using this link.
By completing one or more of these actions, and sharing with others why this is important, everyone can demonstrate that they want strong action on the nature and climate crisis. Plus they will make their local neighbourhood a bit greener and have some fun.
A nature-based approach to fighting climate change uses tree-planting and peatland restoration to draw down carbon from the atmosphere, wilder riverside areas (including beavers!) to reduce the impact of flooding, nature rich green spaces in our cities and low-intensity farming that is both better for wildlife and reduces emissions.
One of the best things about taking this approach is that, as well as fighting climate change, a nature based approach will lead to thriving green cities and landscapes that are good for people, good for wildlife and good for the economy. But we need one third of land in Staffordshire be managed for nature in this way by 2030 to turn around the crisis.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust already has landscape scale programmes delivering these benefits, such as peatland restoration work at The Roaches Nature reserve. Work has included rewetting the peatland and blocking ditches with stone and plugs of peat. Peat bunds have been installed to act as speed bumps to slow the water flow down and cause it to spread out over the surface creating wet habitat for important peatland plants like Sphagnum moss.
UK peatlands actually contribute to four per cent of the annual carbon dioxide (CO2) output which is why they must be repaired to stop this and also to reverse the cycle. As well as storing CO2, peatlands act as sponges storing water releasing it slowly preventing flooding and lessening the effects of drought.
Another example is the work being undertaken in the catchment of the River Sow, which includes sites such as Doxey Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Trust has been working with landowners and farmers to use nature-based solutions to prevent flash flooding. Work includes installing large woody debris and features to slow the flow of water. These natural defences will ensure the area and nearby town has better protection against future flooding, one of the key risks of climate change.
David Cadman, Head of Nature Recovery Networks for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We are thankful to all our committed Staffordshire residents and businesses who are already doing their bit to protect our planet and provide a greener, wilder future, free from the threat of climate change.
“However, we need your help to strengthen our fight and enable nature to play a key role in that by taking the time to complete one or more of these key actions. By doing so you can join us to demonstrate that we want strong action on tackling climate change.
“It will send a signal to our leaders that we are ready to do our part, and now we need them to do theirs at COP26.”
To find out more and about actions you can take – visit https://www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk/climateaction