International attempts to protect biodiversity seem to be held back by politics, but locally it is possible to make a difference.
Failure to husband the world’s resources may well be catastrophic for human beings in the years to come. However, when it comes to trying to reduce one’s carbon footprint it is often hard to relate one’s own paltry efforts to the global situation. This is particularly the case when one considers the growth in carbon emissions from the third world. It feels that anything we do is less than a drop in the ocean.
There is one area however in which we can make an immediate and tangible difference, and that is in conserving the biodiversity of our surroundings. Next year, for example, with this in mind, Nick and I are hoping to increase the amount of our garden that is left to run wild, and we hope to plant more bee and insect friendly plants. We are also hoping that the pond that we created last year will see the arrival of some amphibians.
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, but I have to say that I have barely noticed any activity taking place at a national level, let alone at an international level, to support this. As the campaigning website AVAAZ* states:
‘By now, our governments were supposed to have "achieved a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss." They have failed, consistently caving to industry when given a choice between narrow profit and protecting species. Our animals, plants, oceans, forests, soils, and rivers are choking under immense burdens from over-exploitation and other pressures.’
Against this background the International Year of Biodiversity does not really seem to have caught the attention of the media. This week a major international conference on the subject has been taking place in Japan, but I would have been unaware of it without the AVAAZ campaign aimed at saving the whale! Yesterday’s final communiqué speaks of great progress being made, but since none of this is backed with any money, and the US has not signed up at all, it is possible to be a little underwhelmed.
However, here in Suffolk we should not be too downhearted. Several local conservation groups are actively promoting the cause of biodiversity and those interested can get involved in a number of different ways. There are even plans for a biodiversity trail around Sudbury.
One local group, Woodland BATS (Biodiversity around Town) holds regular work parties, including one in Acton tomorrow. Another group of activists is working to protect a population of some 6000 toads on a site on the edge of Ipswich.
For more information on BATS workparties, visits to sites of ecological interest, and other activities, contact Chairman, Peter Clifford on
*To learn more about AVAAZ , and get the chance to sign petitions on a broad range of environmental and human rights issues click on