For many of us who belong to wildlife charities, read the papers or watch wildlife documentaries, species extinction caused by human activity continues at an alarming rate.
In response to this crisis, a meeting of countries that had signed up to the Convention on Biological Diversity was held in 1994. This represented a dramatic step forward in the conservation of global biodiversity. Now, the 15th meeting has just drawn to a close with key agreements from 194 countries (excluding the DRC) including a commitment to conserve 30% of the Earth by the end of this decade.
But what does this mean for Long Ashton?
In September 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, made his own commitment to protect 30% of Britain's land by 2030. However, in April 2022, the Natural History Museum warned the UK is on track to miss this pledge, with some analyses warning just 5% of the nation's land is effectively protected. Britain is already one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world; recent reports suggest that insects have declined faster between 2021 and 2022 than ever before. Insects underpin food chains, pollinate most of the world's crops and provide natural pest control services. Without insects, life on earth would collapse. The reasons for this decline include the loss and damage to habitats, climate change, pollution of rivers and streams, use of pesticides and development of wild spaces.
However, while the British Government dithers, here in Long Ashton we can all make a difference to the future of wildlife and, in this way, help increase our biodiversity.
Cutting down on cleaning products, reducing the speed we travel, leaving wild spaces in our gardens and encouraging others to do the same will help reduce pollution, increase space for wildlife and lessen the number of wildlife casualties on our lanes. In this way, we can all put words into action.
Imagine the difference if 30% of land in Long Ashton was put aside by establishing field margins and thick hedges that are wildlife-friendly.
As the inspirational Wild East project says, "Imagine if every backyard, schoolyard, farmyard and industrial yard can save a bit of nature, together we can create the wild southwest of our dreams". And it wouldn't affect our food security. In fact, a more resilient ecosystem would increase our food security as a recent report from the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) made abundantly clear.
For more on COP15, there's a guide written by the British Ecological Society
And for information straight from the horse's mouth here's the link to COP15 itself.