We are delighted to see so many people and organisations creating events around COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference – so we want briefly to explain why FoBC has not organised more than one walk to coincide with Richmond’s Climate Week. This walk will be on Sunday 7th November, to correspond with their day for Nature, Habitats and Biodiversity, led by our chair Mike Hildesley.
First and most importantly, FoBC have been addressing the key issues on a daily basis for the past decade and more, and we continue to expand our activities to address climate change, flood resilience, the environment, conservation, lifelong outdoor learning, community growing, community engagement and wellbeing. Our ethos is to be sustainable, local, organic, to engage the community, and be ecological and responsible in everything we do. We know we are not perfect, but we look for improvements wherever possible.
The issues of climate change are simple, and threaten life as we have been privileged to know it: humans are consuming the Earth’s resources at roughly 1.6 times their natural rate of replenishment and, for instance, species extinctions are already about 100 times the ‘natural’ level. Scientific evidence of the damage and dangers mounts daily from research, while the increased severity of storms and droughts in all parts of the world raises the alarms. Unfortunately, finding solutions is vastly more complex, because no-one understands fully how our environment actually works — we are getting closer, but have a long way to go and so little time to do so. Meantime, the suggested solutions loved of politicians (such as “Plant Trees”) are gross oversimplifications… we are not only fighting carbon dioxide levels; land solutions matter little, if we do not get the marine balance right and so on, right down to the invisible micro level of the billions of bacteria on which all life depends.
In terms of FoBC organising anything special, the timing of COP26 has been unfortunate, as it coincides with Sharon’s farewell and before our new Outdoor Learning manager takes up his post in late November. It also finds us incredibly busy on Conservation (the two Wills have spent much of the last two weeks helping Jamie halo’ing the rare black poplars along the towpath – all extra work in a busy Autumn schedule), Flood Resilience (preparing for our role in the major Innovative Flood Resilience project over the next five years), as well as taking forward the Vine Road Project plans, reorganising the pop-up café, DofE sessions etc.
So please enjoy the multitude of events being organised by others around COP26, join Mike on his walk if you can, and then join us as we continue to develop our own initiatives over the coming months and years: we plan more actions, more events and loads more opportunities to become engaged with the issues – and have fun while doing so.
Mike’s Walk: To mark ‘Nature, Habitats and Biodiversity Day’ within Richmond’s calendar of events during Climate Week, Mike Hildesley will lead a walk around Barnes Common to address its key habitats, the immediate risks of climate change, as well as discussing some of the deeper risks associated with the long term health of our planet and life as we have been privileged to know it. It is a chance to ask Mike what FoBC are doing, and hopefully for you to deepen your understanding and discover new ways of making your own contribution.