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Ideas for regenerating nature in Audlem

29/09/2021 – by Roger Cole

ACER ideas on local actions that can be taken to both reduce Carbon Footprints and stem the increasing loss of biodiversity.

The UN COP15 Biodiversity conference in China in October 2021 and April-May 2022 will hopefully look at the bigger picture such as rainforest destruction and the overfishing of the oceans.

The recent House of Commons biodiversity report to Government starts with this gloomy statement: ‘The world is witnessing a colossal decline in global biodiversity. One million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Most terrestrial biomes are damaged. Since 1970 there has been a 68 percent decrease in population sizes of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. This global picture is reflected in the UK, one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. 15 percent of UK species are threatened with extinction. Of the G7 countries, the UK has the lowest level of biodiversity remaining. At a minimum, the UK has failed to meet 14 of the 19 Aichi biodiversity targets, the global nature goals the UK committed to meet by 2020.’

The loss of biodiversity and the increase of the climate crisis are directly linked. This is recently confirmed by a report from a group of global experts working together in a workshop situation to produce a peer reviewed report (summarised here Tackling Biodiversity & Climate Crises Together and Their Combined Social Impacts – United Nations Sustainable Development )

Can Audlem take a small step in addressing this problem? Here is a list of suggestions for small local and individual actions that might help improve our local biodiversity.

Many of my ideas will be linked to gardens but I am sure that there are other areas that can link to improving biodiversity.

Leave a small wild area in your garden space – native plants will all be a food source for our insects and caterpillars, these in turn will be food for small birds and mammals. Include a pile of logs or sticks to give a home for all sorts of bugs to use.

If you have a lawned area leave un-mown spaces which can develop over time into a small meadow for cutting once a year. The Turnpike field gives us a good picture of how attractive grasses and wildflowers look if left to mature.

Mix some native flowering plants in any space that you use for growing vegetables this will attract more pollinators as well as looking good.

Avoid the use of chemicals for both weeds and bugs, pull them up and pick them off, use soapy water solution to remove the aphids that the birds don’t pick off.

Make your own garden compost – a home for all sorts of invertebrates while breaking down into soil improver for the garden.

A wormery will be able to turn kitchen waste into a good garden feed.

If you have space introduce a pond or perhaps several; even a bucket sized pond will attract amphibians and water insects.

A shallow gravel tray with water will help butterflies.

Bird feeders and water baths will bring more bird species to the garden and help them survive.

Make a hedgehog sized hole in border fences to allow these threatened animals to get from garden to garden.

Don’t use peat-based composts – the peat left where it has been formed will support all sorts of wildlife (and capture carbon). Most garden centres local to Audlem will now have peat free compost available but it often sells out early in the season. The quality of peat free compost has slowly improved over the past few years, so there is no excuse to use any compost containing peat.

If you have pets take care if treating them for fleas that the treatment does not contain the neonicotinoid chemicals that are lethal to our bees. The chemical is then transferred to vegetation or into water if they go for a swim in the canal.

Plant more trees if you have space – will attract insects and birds providing them with food and will capture carbon.

Perennial plants and shrubs will provide year-round colour and structure in the garden and a year-round food source for insects and birds.

Flowering plants with simple single flowers will provide nectar that is far easier for the insects and bees to find than in complex double flowers.

Make sure that your cat has a collar with a bell – may give birds a little warning that they are being attacked – domestic cats kill vast numbers of native birds every year.

When buying your fish check the Marine Stewardship Council lists for sustainable varieties.

Choose cleaning products that do not contain the phosphates and other chemicals that cause river pollution and drive down river biodiversity.

Reduce your use of plastics and make sure that any plastic that you do use is recyclable and then recycled. The amount of plastic particles entering the food chain is frightening and is affecting many animal species including humans. Use bars of soap rather than liquid soap, and shampoo bars rather than liquids (these can be found in the village, at the Marina, in the local health food shops, on the canal boat that occasionally visits, and online).

Recycle using the Audlem Guides schemes – boxes at the Scout Hall and at Williams (for toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, crisp packets, biscuit wrappers, and cheese packets) and it helps their funds

Encourage the local council to stop mowing road verges and green spaces.

Limit your energy use to what is necessary (e.g., don’t overfill the kettle). The more energy that we use the more the effect on the atmosphere and hence on everything using the resource of the atmosphere.

Tell your children and grandchildren how important this is – or perhaps they have already told you!

Help Audlem in the fight against climate change.

Make a better future for our children.

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