Showing posts with label Countryside. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Countryside. Show all posts

Saturday 30 June 2018

Can We Save our Wildlife?

bonny banks of Loch Lomond

 “Saltmarsh in winter grey, falls softly upon the human eye.”
In his book, “Can we Save Britain’s Wildlife’ Mark Cocker argues, “its urgent we protect our natural environment. .”The big corporate landowners have been a disaster. The National Trust too often seems less interested in biodiversity than that it has destroyed swaths of wild upland in Scotland. – Flow country with a loathsomeness of conifers, which have also helped the super-rich avoid paying tax.”
Nature reserve north Uist

On North Uist there is a beautiful nature reserve  to protect endangered birds such as corncrakes. This is part of an important European Conservation Machair project and I wondered, will the UK fund and set up a UK Conservation Machair project, after Brexit? I doubt it! 
In Finland they have school projects to get young people into the natural environment and fresh air. In the 30s when people were given a weeks holiday they worried they might drink, so instead they offered wooden weekend retreats beside their beautiful lakes. Also a project to help children with depression is to get them into the countryside. 

Campsie hills

We all benefit from being in nature. I will always remember a drive in the natural forests of Fall in Massachusetts when I was blown away by the beauty and range of colours. Sadly the contrast in Scotland couldn’t be more stark, after depleting our land of natural forrests to build ships to fight the French or Spanish (in the 18thcentury). The UK Forestry Commission has built these abhorrent squares of dark green conifers where no undergrowth and biodiversity can survive underneath. Some have burnt and nothing survives here.

fall colours in America

Our countryside is also stuffed with aggressive Rhododendrons which Queen Victoria brought over. Around a tenth of our countryside is effected with this blight and the whole of our landscape will eventually be covered with this plant if nothing is done: no wild life can survive here and it is costing millions to eradicate. 

harvest fields near Stonehaven
I was shocked recently to realise that birthday cake travels from London or Manchester – which made me wonder, why can’t cakes be made here in Glasgow and how much of our super market food is locally sourced? This is not at all green – for our global warming and carbon foot print. Do we really need Alaskan salmon here, when Scottish salmon is better?
Cocker claims, ‘it’s a scientific necessity to revolutionise our approach to food and energy.’

So can we buy Local? On the radio a women spoke of living on local produce. She spoke of farmers markets and how Scottish tomatoes taste excellent, and of how difficult it was to buy local produce. 
Some predict Brexit chaos at Dover, and that within two days there would be no food in Cornwall or Scotland! I thought what is going on, has the UK gone crazy and why is all our food traveling through Dover? Why can’t food come over from Ireland or America or Holland? I thought of all the trucks jammed up in Kent. It’s an unsustainable and ludicrous situation, that we must escape from and how can Scotland be self sustaining otherwise? Both Irvine and Glasgow were once great trading ports, pre union or rather pre occupation. 

evening light south Uist

We need to BE more indy – and consider how can we supply our energy (renewables – we have loads of wind, rain and tides). 
As a result of pesticide use and global warming Britain's butterflies are under serious threat. Recently I was walking in marshland at Mugdock country park where we might expect to see butterflies fluttering and sadly there were none.... The baby boomers have been a generation that has abused our planet - with plastic, air travel and more. We must now ask- what are we leaving the next generation? 

If our natural habitat is lost it will never be regained and we will end with“birdless skies, insect less vegetation, make a soundscape of men-made engines.” 
We will have a world (already happening) bare of flowers, animals, birdsong and butterflies. We can’t flush plastics, chemicals, fertilizers or CO2 down a rubbish flue, it all remains.  . 
Nature is our life support system. 

rocky shores on Harris

And PS On a personal note - we never use week killer on our grass, allow sections of wild flowers, have a bird feeder on a small tree and have several mature trees. I notice some concrete over their gardens or put down stones.