Tuesday 27 October 2015

UN Climate Meeting

A vital United Nations climate meeting starts in Paris on 30 November, lasting 2 weeks. Climate change is already happening, at present affecting mostly the poorer parts of the world, but even we can see that our weather has changed compared to 50 years ago: milder winters, even more changeable weather, rising sea levels measured at Liverpool Docks.
Many scientists and analysts agree that unless that warming is kept below 2C, there will be grave consequences for people and all other life. To do that we have to change the way we live, to generate less climate-warming gases. For instance, we need to leave at least three-quarters of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground, and generate our energy other ways. We probably have only a window of 10-20 years to take appropriate action, before it will be too late to stop major climate change over 2C. All countries need to take action, but the richer countries (including the UK) have made most of the pollution and should take the lead in cleaning up.
Our current government should show the way in promising deep cuts to carbon emissions. However, in the last few months since the election they have weakened or abandoned several policies that would help reduce UK carbon emissions. 10 organisations, ranging from The Wildlife Trusts national office through RSPB, National Trust, CPRE to Friends of the Earth, recently wrote to the Prime Minister to express their concern. Most of the changes were not in the Conservative manifesto, and include:
* withdrawing support for solar PV and wind energy generation,
* cancellation of the requirement for new homes to be built to zero-carbon standards, a mere 6 months before it was due to start, and after a decade of careful planning by responsible builders.
* changes to car tax so that high-polluting vehicles will pay the same as the most efficient ones after the first year.
* drilling for shale gas to be allowed in areas used for drinking water and the most wildlife-rich areas of the country, like the Dee Estuary.
* partially lifting the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, despite mounting evidence of their harm to pollinating insects especially bees.
* stopping the "Green Deal" programme to help people insulate their homes. This had problems and was not being effective, but nothing has been put in its place.
Please write to the Prime Minister (10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA) and contact your MP to urge the government to go to the UN climate meeting prepared to commit to large and urgent cuts in UK greenhouse gas emissions. Also to take action to help our environment in general, rather than harm it.
Hilary Ash

Monday 19 October 2015

Award Winning Volunteers

At the Cheshire Wildlife Trust AGM, held at Ness Gardens on October 17th, three Wirral Wildlife volunteers were presented with the Eric Thurston Award in recognition of their contributions to the group’s activities.

John Gill being presented with his award.

John Gill has been Honorary Treasurer of Wirral group for fifteen years as well as representing us on Wirral Environmental Network. He has obtained grants to support our newsletters and for equipment such as the laptop and contributed to newsletter production and distribution. On twelve occasions he has completed the fifteen mile Wirral coastal walk, raising about £2000 for Cheshire Wildlife Trust. His annual Christmas Quiz has raised funds and left our brains aching.

Howard Gibson became involved with New Ferry Butterfly Park in 1998. He carries out mid-week mowing of the path edges giving the park a cared for and inviting look and has designed compost bins, located water butts and maintains the posts for the nature, history and sculpture trails. He became treasurer in 1998 and has had to deal with some large (£17K) and complicated grants such as the Comma Project. In 2011 Howard was giving 140 mid-week hours per year plus seven Sundays amounting to 20% of the total volunteer input at the Park that year.

Tom McCullough (left) and Howard Gibson (right) with their awards

Tom McCullough has worked on Cleaver Heath, Red Rocks, Thornton and Foxes woods since 2000. He now manages Foxes Wood and the adjacent Tom’s Paddock.  At Foxes Wood Tom completely removed the non-native variegated yellow archangel by hand and works on Himalayan balsam removal keeping it at a consistently low level. Foxes Wood is the only Dibbinsdale SSSI which is in favourable condition as assessed by Natural England. At Tom’s Paddock (named after Sir Thomas Mostyn a former owner) he mows a third of the area annually using a scythe, creating a grassland full of wildflowers with a good display of orchids. Tom has tremendous energy and determination, a Trojan of a worker who does not want to stop.

Monday 12 October 2015

Timelapse Butterflies

Ron Thomas, local photographer, has placed some timelapse videos of emerging butterflies on You Tube. Here is one of them, showing a Large White emerging from its chrysalis.

Other videos can also be viewed on his You Tube channel.

More Large Whites:

and a Painted Lady:

Well worth viewing!