I finished reading Richard Louv-Last child in the woods. It has been quite a long time reading as new borns slow down your reading rate, but well worth the time. Louv looks at how American children have become detached from nature. The first edition was published in 2005 and has been revised since While examining Americans it is just as relevant to the UK. The book examines different reasons children are becoming detached such as law suit culture, screen time, parental fears. He covers hope the future in ways we can make sure our future generations reconnect to nature. The book finishes with suggestions of what you can do for different groups: children, schools, etc. This addition has been written for the UK edition on Kindle to name UK organisations where relevant. An excellent read for any parents or nature lovers.
The theme of the book is only becoming more important as climate change continues to threaten. With many native species under threat in the UK there are many concerns for the future if children don’t care. I’m glad to say many UK organisations are recognising the disconnection of children. Without the engagement of children these organisations will slowly die. The RSPB home for nature, the woodland trusts tree party, the wildlife trusts 30 days of wild are all excellent examples of how we can promote nature.
I’ve moved onto foxes unearthed by Lucy Jones examining the love hate relationship of foxes in the UK. I’ve read the first chapter so far covering some of the history of foxes in literature and the history of hunts in the UK. Quite gripped so far.
The removal of the climate change department by Theresa May potentially marks a big setback for tackling climate change. The department has been brought into a bigger department responsible for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The conservatives claim this will allow further progress to be made in tackling climate change. I would love to believe this, but given the lack of progress in the party that promised the greenest government ever (David Cameron “lets kill the green crap) I just don’t believe them. Business interests and protecting the environment have rarely gone hand in hand. To me the removal the department marks the conservatives downgrading the status of the issue of climate change. Thus why I am petitioning to restore the climate change department.
In this blog I am listing some of the press coverage of the decision to scrap the department to give people further context to decide whether to sign or not. If moved to sign, please share on facebook and twitter and with anyone else you think might care.
The Guardian-Abolition of Decc ‘major setback for UK’s climate change efforts’ (15.7.16)
The independent-Climate change department closed by Theresa May in ‘plain stupid’ and ‘deeply worrying’ move (14.6.16)
The Independent-Killing the climate change department could be Theresa May’s first and biggest mistake
The Huffington Post-Theresa May ‘Stupid’ To Abolish Department Of Energy And Climate Change
Nature World News
The Express-Department of Energy and Climate Change scrapped as Greg Clark heads up new role
If you’ve been following the blog over the last week you will of seen that I have been trying to get a petition off the ground to fight Theresa May’s decision to remove the climate change department and merge it into a bigger business department. The new department will supposedly combine environmental issues and business in a sustainable way. However I don’t believe that the environmental issues will win over business interests in a largely self interested Tory government. My petition was rejected as another was being started on the subject, so please put your support behind it. Please sign, share, tweet, do whatever you can to support it. It has managed over 100 signatures in the first day, but it has a long way to go.
An update on petition to parliament. The petition has received more than its necessary support to know go to the approval stage. To do this it must meet the standards, but I can’t see any reason it wouldn’t. It reached the required number on Saturday, then it can take up to a week to go live on the site. When it does please share the petition, tweet about, blog, whatever you can do to help as it is an important issue. I don’t expect the government to necessarily change its decision, but I do want to show disgust at the decision and flag to the other parties that the environment should be on their agendas. During the Brexit debates the remain parties campaign was rather limp. The efforts from GPO’s to represent the environmental concerns were not massive. So now we are left in a position where the positive steps undertaken for the environment may be undone. EU environmental policies were far from perfect, but the conservatives left unchecked will destroy what little we have left. So now more than ever is a time for individuals to make their voices heard. Please support my petition when it goes live to send a message that climate matters. If you want to follow on twitter look for @jobasha
The campaign I am doing under the hashtag #climatematters
Standards for petitions
We’ll only reject your petition if it’s:
- not clear what you’re asking for
- about something that the UK Government or Parliament is not responsible for
- about something that’s the responsibility of a devolved body (eg the Scottish Parliament)
- about a purely personal issue
- confidential, libellous, false or defamatory
- contains language that may cause offence, or is provocative or extreme in its views deceptive or misleading
- advertising or spam
- nonsensical, or a joke
- party political
- about honours or appointments – there’s a different way to nominate someone for an honour
- breaks the law or violates intellectual property rights
- covered by a court order, injunction or is about a case that’s active in the UK courts
- potentially confidential, commercially sensitive or might cause someone distress or financial loss
- names people working in public bodies (except for senior management)
- names family members of elected officials or people working in public bodies
- names someone who has been accused of a crime, or contains information that may identify them
- a Freedom of Information (FOI) request – there’s a different way to make an FOI request
In the mean time while I wait for the parliamentary petition to go live I have started another petition through 38 degrees. The first petition is through parliamentary petitions, which has been criticised as the idea of a petition website set up by the government is an odd one. It is an area which traditionally is done by outside forces to put pressure on the government. 38 degrees is an independent petition website, free from government control. It also means people worldwide can show disgust at the decision to scrap the climate change department, whereas the parliamentary website can only be signed by UK residents. So if you want to sign the 38 degrees petition the link is here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/bring-back-the-climate-change-department
And now a bit of background on what climate change may mean. I can’t imagine anyone wanting polar bears to become extinct. These wonderful bundles of strength are on of natures wonders to watch. In this BBC story from 2014 they examine how man made global warming could lead to polar bear extinction.
Following on from my woodland trust tree party blog I figure more should be done than just ranting about the removal of the climate change department. I have started a petition to reinstate the department. I am fully aware of what the gloomy response I will get should it reach the successful debate number, but I don’t believe in not standing up and stating my views. In the words of the Lifted Lorax, “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not”.
The petition needs 5 supporters to be introduced onto the website, so please click the link, get it rolling.
The Independent stating it is a stupid move.
The Guardian also stating the removal of department as major setback.
The Huffington Post providing it’s usual coverage of any Tory mistake.
My daughter sleeps soundly, but deserves a future with clean air, with wildlife, with plants, trees and fauna, with clean seas. We have a responsibility to look after this world for the future.
Yesterday my Woodland Trust-invite a tree to tea pack arrived in the post. The Woodland Trust is encouraging people to get out and whether it’s having a picnic or a garden party invite a tree along. They have put together a delightful pack of activities available for free from the link. A lovely way to spend a day with kids or enjoy a glass of wine amongst the woods. The woodland trust recognises the need to connect children to nature if they want their work to continue to get support.
In the UK only 13% is covered by tress. This is rather pathetic compared with the average of 37 % in Europe. For a country once covered largely in woods this is devastating in terms of its effects on nature. As a result 60% of animal and plant species have declined in the last 50 years. Theresa May has closed the climate change department, along with the appointment of Andrea (foxes must die) Leadsome to Environment Secretary, shows clearly the environment and conservation is not going to be a priority for the new conservative government. Andrea Leadsome has previously suggested selling off forests. A little ironic from a woman who said she was better to lead as she had a stake in the world for her children. A refusal to accept climate change and looking at how we tackle our fossil fuel reliance will eventually crash our economy. It is incredibly short sighted from Theresa May, but then she possibly isn’t expecting to be re-elected. So more than ever is a time to support the Woodland Trust in their work encouraging people to enjoy trees and wooded areas and protect the little we have.
I plan to use the Woodland Trusts tree party set with my class to encourage their love of nature and to take care of the trees we have on our school site. We have our end of term reward next week and weather permitting we will get out and have our picnic under one of the trees on the school playing field. Then we can indulge in some of the the games from the pack and maybe go find it.
The set contains a few games to do. There is a leaf ID sheet for the kids to look for the different leaf patterns. There is a nice scavenger hunt with a list of wild objects the children might find (leaves, feathers, dandelion clock etc). Some stickers to show which trees they found. Then some lovely cards to use for photos to change the kids faces to animals.