ALL THE THINGS WE LOVE ARE AFFECTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change is impacting on the things we love and cherish both here in our own backyards and around the world — whether it is the pitches where we play cricket and football, the puffins who make their home along our coastlines, the woodlands where we walk, or communities affected by extreme weather events in other countries. It can be seen in increased flooding and droughts, summer heatwaves, and more unpredictable weather. It is changing the seasons, upsetting crops and flowers, and disturbing the journeys of migrating birds.
These people, places and lives may be changing, but our love for them is stronger than ever and we can make sure this love is felt by those who can make a world of difference.
FARMING IN SOMERSET
"Farmers know that flooding in winter is likely and so they build their cattle sheds on higher ground, but they don’t then expect the sheds to flood. The flood levels in February rose to unprecedented levels. Locally here in Moorland, people knew the flood waters were rising, but I don’t think we thought that the houses in the village were going to flood and up to seven feet deep in places.
I don’t think that the UK’s farming industry is prepared for the changing weather as until recently we have never really had to be."
Liz Crew, Farmer, Somerset Levels (more information)
"I’m a mother of four children and live in Devon. For more than ten years I’ve been travelling and working in the Polar Regions as an explorer and scientist.
During my time up ‘North’ I’ve witnessed changes in the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean and have experienced more extreme temperatures and unexpected storms.
This world is not ours and I would like, not only my children, but all the animals in the world to inherit a world we can be proud of. Give Mother Nature a helping hand, not a stamping foot."
SEEING MY PARENTS
"Climate change really came home to me last winter, when I got on a train to Cornwall to visit my Mum and Dad the day before Christmas Eve. The journey usually takes about four hours from London. Unnaturally torrential rain, widespread flooding and trees on the line this time made it an eight-hour trek.
This Christmas, the journey was quicker, but I remember passing flooded fields which looked for all the world like great expanses of sea, with the wind whipping up waves where previously there would have been grazing cattle.
As we passed Dawlish Warren, the sea spat foam at the carriages, and I got the face-full of seawater that I deserved when I foolishly lowered the window to peek out. Little was I to know that within a month, the whole stretch of track would fall into the sea, pummeled by relentless stormy waves."
Guy, London (more information)
"I’ve been gardening for decades, and having taken this time to understand the relationships between soil, its surroundings and the art of growing food, I am now struck by the challenge of cultivating in the face of extreme weather and rising temperatures.
My decisions about which crops to grow that were once focussed on what I wanted to eat now seem simple. Even if I had the time to research what may cope with the effects of climate change I will still need to try these out in my own growing spaces. Seasons later I may be confident of what will grow but I’ll be faced with a smaller range of food to eat – and will get fewer health benefits."
Martine, Enfield (more information)
"Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a champion cyclist. I’m not clad in serious Lycra, and I’m rubbish when it comes to hills. That’s why I harbour a dream of a gentle cycling holiday in the Netherlands. The land of tulips, clogs and quaint windmills is just so thigh-pleasingly flat!
But it’s at risk. At risk from our rising sea levels, caused by global climate change."
Clare, Monmouth (more information)
"What’s climate change got to do with coffee, I hear you ask? Well, the changing weather patterns across regions such as South America are threatening coffee harvests. Crops are falling prey to disease, and farmers are facing failed harvests year after year.
I love coffee, and I also love to think that by drinking my daily Fairtrade latte (or 3!) I’m supporting farmers around the world to make a fair living. But their livelihoods are increasingly threatened by our changing climate, so now I’m going to do something about that too."
Luke, Plymouth (more information)
"I always eagerly await spring, my favourite season –I love to see everything coming back to life. One of my favourite events is listening to the birdsong that fills the air, year after year I have noted when I first see or hear my first migrant birds.
The idea of these small birds making such big journeys just to get back to our country to breed blows my mind! But as climate change is making the weather less predictable, I am concerned about how our migrants will cope. I remember how wet and cold it was last spring and the impact it had on our migrants: some arrived too early and had trouble finding food, others arrived much later usual. I worry that one day we may have springs without our migrants returning – what a sad world that would be…."
Alice Tribe (more information)
"I love rugby union, the kind that is played with 15 players on a pitch. I used to play when I was younger but I’ve been very busy with work, and now mostly watch it on TV.
Climate change could make it a lot more difficult to play rugby in some areas of Great Britain, Ireland and in other parts of Western Europe, such as France. In January, many rugby pitches across England and Wales were flooded after torrential rains, rendering them unplayable for several weeks. It’s about time we do something about climate change so rugby players across the world can continue to enjoy their favourite sport."
Olivier, London (more information)
"As I hold my one month old son in my arms I begin to think about what I can do to make his world a better place.
The future is uncertain – and perhaps scary – but we can take steps now which will increase the chances that many of the things we take for granted today will still be around in the future. We can no longer pass the task to subsequent generations."
Ray Dhirani, Woking (more information)
"I am a fisherman. My wife, May May and I live in a house on stilts above the water in Tacloban, Philippines.
In November 2013 I lost my boat and fishing equipment during the typhoon Hayian. My boat was damaged and I haven’t recovered anything so I cannot fish.
Now I earn a living selling scrap metal that I find along the shore in Anibong Bay. I wear a diving mask and flippers made from salvaged wood and I collect metal from under the water in two fridges that I found after the storm and tied together to form a floating raft.
I don’t really have another option. I will try to save some money to have my boat back because fishing is my livelihood."
Joel Vilamor, Philippines (more information)
"I’m a keen SCUBA diver, and have been lucky enough to dive in some amazing places. Coral reefs have often provided the most spectacular experiences, as they are riots of colour, and hubs of marine life. They contain a huge range of biodiversity, are the root of many marine food chains, and are often the nursery to boot.
But climate change is killing our reefs, through increased temperatures and ocean acidification. The sorry sight of vast banks of dead coral skeletons, which should have been buzzing with bright colourful fish, was more than a disappointing holiday experience – it brought home a bleak future for us all."
Heather Griffiths (more information)
"I fit the cliché about French people to perfection in the sense that I love cheese, mostly French ones if I’m honest.
Less rainfall means more droughts. More droughts means less food, including for cows. Less food for cows means less milk. Which ultimately means cheese will cost much more in the future. It could become as expensive as caviar!"
Armelle, London (more information)
"Living in central London, you don’t often get to see the sea. So when I get a chance to travel, I always try and seek out a beach. From (often) rainy pebble beaches on the West Coast of Scotland, to sunnier sandy beaches across the world, nothing makes you feel further way from the city.
Yet coastal erosion and sea level rise caused by the changing climate threatens beaches, and the communities that live near them throughout the world. It’s time to act together to protect our beaches, warm and sandy, or chilly and pebbly!"
Eilidh, Scotland (more information)
"I love chocolate- milk chocolate is best. And of course my favourite is Fairtrade chocolate. But one day chocolate might become a luxury I can’t afford.
That’s because in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, where more than half the world’s cocoa is grown, the land suitable for production could halve due to temperature rise. If it came to this, not only would I miss out, but the poorest farmers and workers would be hit worst."
Rachel, Walthamstow (more information)
I miss frosty mornings in mild winters. Winter walks should be accompanied by white breath clouds and ice-hard mud underfoot, hoarfrost on bare branches and cold fingers, birds forced into gardens to finish off the bright red berries.
Much as I love to see them, I don’t really want butterflies to be emerging on short winter days when there is nothing to eat, or hedgehogs tempted out of winter torpor. And am I imagining it or does my vegetable patch benefit from a good cold snap? Bring back cold winters!"
Gareth Morgan (more information)
"Our capital city may seem a strange place for a country boy to enthuse about nature, but I love the way wildlife coexists secretly alongside the 8 million humans who call London home. Even stranger to think that this solid monument to “civilisation” is vulnerable to climate change: The threat of flooding is increasing.
Nature breaks through the concrete and “weeds” spring-up in gutters and on rooftops to hint at what we can achieve if we were to just accept that nature is our life-support system. Increasing tree cover and green spaces would give us an improved buffer against weather extremes, benefiting all Londoners, human or otherwise."
Tim Webb, London (more information)
"Last summer I spent three months on the beautiful island of Sal in Cape Verde, working on a Loggerhead Turtle conservation project. The opportunity to watch nesting females on the beaches under the moonlight and release hatchlings into the surf, was an amazing experience.
With warmer temperatures and sea levels rising not only is their food and hatching success impacted but nesting beaches are disappearing. This is resulting in females being unable to continue the ritual of returning to their ‘imprinted’ beach of hatching, questioning their chances of nesting at all.
It saddens me to think that future generations may not experience this mysterious creature."
Louise Hughes (more information)
"The mountains have been a huge part of my life since learning to ski at the age of 5. My love for the sport has taken me down many different routes, firstly as an international ski racer and more recently as a sponsored freestyle skier. One thing that has never changed over my many years as a skier is my love for the mountains and a passion for everyone to be able to enjoy them in all their glory.
This is a passion that is under threat by ever rising global temperatures. A greener lifestyle means whiter mountains and is something that I feel compelled to support!"
Luke McCarthy, Hemel Hempstead (more information)