Thoughts from Sussex

  • Written by Carola Godman Irvine
  • Posted on Dec 18, 2020
  • Articles

When my family ask what I want for Christmas, my reply will be, in no particular order:

‘A clean break from the EU.
The end of Corvid 19.
The abolition of social media.
A world without waste and pollution.
The end of jihadist terrorists allied to al-Qaeda and the Islamist State, and conflict across the world.
To keep my family and friends close, safe and well.
Oh, and planning permission for the Ote Hall Farm Shop!’

How lovely it would be to wake up on New Year’s Day facing a world without pandemics, conflict, cruelty, poverty, fear, hunger and violence.

A world where kindness, success, good health and compassion are celebrated and the norm. One where there is food for everyone and no climate change or global warming.

The future of our children, grandchildren and indeed the whole of humanity and natural world are at stake. There is a fragility but fortunately most of these issues are currently top of most agendas.

Onto more rural matters; it is encouraging to see that scientists have acknowledged that small ponds and ditches can help the biodiversity ‘crises’. A group of 20 experts have said that small bodies of water should be protected in the same way as lakes and rivers, which currently they aren’t.

They say small waters still remain marginalised in many policies that seek to protect the water environment. Dr Jeremy Biggs, director of the Freshwater Habitat Trust, said, “For a fraction of what the Government and water industry is spending, we can reverse the steady decline of UK freshwater wildlife by focusing on small waters. Post-Brexit changes to legislation give an opportunity to set our own rules to protect freshwater habitats.”

I wonder if they are aware of the obstacles landowner’s face when attempting to maintain established ponds, and create new ones. Despite the launch of Phase 1 of the Million Ponds Project in 2008 by the Freshwater Habitat Trust, it is still a complicated process.

We created a new pond in 2012 which is fed by a natural spring. What should have been a simple process was made highly complicated and expensive due to red tape and bureaucracy.

Today that pond attracts wildlife of all sorts, including ducks, geese, herons and moorhens. Reeds and waterlilies have established themselves, and newts, water boatmen and other pond life have made it their home.

It is difficult to comprehend why the UK is told to cut meat and dairy by a fifth to save the planet. The imprint of our tiny island in the scheme of things compared to global climate change being caused through the deforestation of millions of acres of forests in the Amazon, Central African Republic, the Congo, Cuba, Uganda and Peru, is minute. Indonesia which has the highest deforestation in the world, saw 15 million acres cleared between 2000 and 2012.

Trees use the energy of sunlight, and through the process of photosynthesis take in carbon dioxide (CO2), and release oxygen into the air.

Currently cover 30 percent of the world’s land area is covered in trees. However, last year alone the tropics lost over 30 million acres of tree cover – an area the size of Belgium.

Those committed to halting climate change should ensure deforestation is stopped now. If it takes financial support or bribery to terminate this destruction, the cost will be insignificant long term.

It is time the UN focused its attention where it is needed, supported by all its members. For many indigenous people living on the edge of these forests, the wildlife, flora and fauna it is already too late.

Interfering with domestic heating appliances, family cars and creating cycle routes through our city streets is unhelpful, perhaps absurd. The focus should be on protecting the trees and plants which naturally capture CO2 and manufacture Oxygen.

To read Carola’s columns in full, go to: www.carolagodmanirvine.com