12 days of climate change

As the UN Climate Conference is pushed back another year, we take a look at some of the amazing climate related work at Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
Time is Now Cumbria

Penny Dixie

12 Days of Climate Change

Today should have been a landmark day for the UK. Over 30,000 delegates from United Nations countries were due to flock to Glasgow for the COP 20 Climate Change Conference.

There would have been an electric feel as heads of state, top scientists and environmental campaigners all arrived in one place to put their minds together. The venue would have been filled with the buzz of chatter as advocates traded ideas from renewable energy, to sustainable transport to large-scale reforestation. Conference halls would have been transformed into a worldwide stage for the next for the next act if the climate change saga.

Elmley RSPB Reserve, Kent

Terry Whittaker/2020VISION

Yet, the leading climate conference has been lost in the midst of the pandemic, being pushed back to 2021. Like a childhood toy that fell just out of reach under the bed, the whole event lies out of site and out of mind. Twelve days of potential have become twelve standard days of 2020.

But climate change is not a year away – it’s very much here and we are seeing its impacts. Be it blistering heatwaves igniting our moorlands in winter or flash flooding that ravages our land in the autumn, climate change is making its presence known in our natural world. And the impact it is having is only set to get worse.

At Cheshire Wildlife Trust all of our work contributes to fixing the climate crisis. If we are not helping nature store carbon, then we are mitigating the impact of climate change. If we are not mitigating the impacts of climate change, then we are helping nature to adapt to a warmer world, creating nature corridors so wildlife can move as things heat up. COP 20 might have been put on hold but our work hasn’t.

For that reason, we have dedicated the next 12 days to focus on our work on climate change because, unless we take action now, things are only set to become more challenging.

Here are 12 ways in which we are helping to tackle the climate crisis:

tree group

1. We are part of an ambitious plan to plant a tree for every person in Congleton.

Over the next five years, we will be helping bring to life the Trees for Congleton project. This will see over 30,000 trees being planted in the town and surrounding areas – imagine seeing tens of thousands of lush green trees suddenly appear in your neighbourhood!

debris slowing the flow of river

2. We are mitigating the impacts of flooding through the Slowing the Flow Project in the Peak District.

Pressures from climate change and development mean that floods are occurring more often. In some places, seeing houses submerged and people wading through streets is becoming a regular site. By restoring wetlands, floodplains, and riverbank woodlands, we are using nature to protect our communities and reduce downstream flooding.

3. We are campaigning for 30% of our land to be managed for nature.

This figure was recommended by the Committee on Climate Change as being essential in achieving national net-zero emissions by 2050. In fact, natural climate solutions provide some of the easiest and cheapest ways to tackle climate change. Think of all the wildlife and money that could save!

Wildbelt graphic

4. We are campaigning for Wildbelt, to help create nature recovery networks.

This would allow land poor for wildlife to be transformed into rich wildlife havens. Just like we rely on roads and trains to go about our lives, nature needs a joined up networks of trees, hedgerows and wildflower meadows. This network would enable wildlife to adapt as rising temperatures force them out of their current homes.

5. We joined forces with 12 other environmental charities to demand stronger environmental laws.

Locally and nationally we speak to lawmakers, highlighting the need for strong climate change targets and an environmental watchdog to hold the Government to account. We believe the combined power of all our voices can make a difference. 

Common spotted-orchid

Tom Marshall

6. We influence local authorities by sitting on key groups across Cheshire.

We use our expert knowledge to help councils adopt natural based solutions when tackling the climate crisis. This allows us to shape and enhance the creation of new wild spaces and find new ways to use our natural world to capture carbon.

7. We restore meadows across the region.

Cheshire has lost 99% of its grassland meadows since the 1960s – our work helps see colourful fields of wildflowers return to our area, giving a vital food source to our bees and butterflies as well as locking carbon into grasses and soils.

Relax

Donna Nook, Lincolnshire WT - Eden Jackson

8. We are campaigning for 30% of our seas to be managed for nature by 2030.

Those steely blue waters are home to so much life and that slimy algae and seaweed is a great way of storing carbon! In fact seagrass meadows can capture carbon from the atmosphere up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests. You can help support this campaign by signing here.

9. We are a partner in the Greater Manchester Wetlands Partnership.

The group is delivering a huge community and natural heritage programme, aiming to restore a network of wild spaces across Manchester’s peatlands. This will allow wetland species to survive and thrive as well as providing vast carbon sinks in the peat.

Doolittle Pool, Delamere c. Richard Gabb

Delamere c. Richard Gabb

10. We are  working with Forestry England to bring wildlife back to Delamere Forest  

This is the largest woodland area in Cheshire  and covers an area of land equivalent to over 1,800 football pitches! It also contains areas of lowland peat which are crucial stores of carbon. Our careful management of these sites will help to keep that carbon locked away.

11. We are exploring ways to become a 'climate positive’ organisation

We are currently assessing how much carbon we use as an organisation and how much carbon we capture through our work. Our aim is that we become a carbon negative organisation that is able to help other organisations offset their CO2 emissions!

beaver

12. We are bringing back beavers!

Beavers went extinct in Cheshire 400 years ago. With the loss of nature’s great engineers, our land has lost some of its ability to prevent flooding. By creating dams, beavers help slow down the flow of flood waters and reduce flooding further downstream.

Membership pack 2018

Membership pack 2018

So how can you help?

We encourage everyone to do what they can to help tackle climate change and we are here to help you do your part. We simply ask you do one of three things: take action, support our work or give your voice to the cause!

Take action:

Have you got a spare hour to give each week? We need enthusiastic people to lead the fight against climate change in our homes, gardens or communities. This can be as simple as switching to a peat free compost or starting up your own community group to help plant more trees in your area! 

Support us:

We appreciate it can be hard for some of us to find a spare moment in the working week so why not consider supporting our work? One of the easiest ways to do this is to become a member! Our members provide around a third of our income and allow us to do some amazing work for wildlife. If membership isn’t quite right for you then you can always pledge a one-off donation to our beaver appeal.

MPs lobbied campaigner

Penny Dixie

Speak up:

Are you active on social media? Could you help spread the word? We need people to sign-up to our Wilder Future campaign to show we have your backing. The more people that back us, the more influence we have when lobbying the Government for stronger environmental laws.

And, don’t just stop at signing, spread the word! Sharing our campaigns on social media helps get our message to more people. Make sure you are following our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to ensure you are the first to know about our campaigns!