Tag: September

Space for Nature

Last day of September

I was mulling over the fact that tomorrow sees the start of October and, inevitably, pondering what sort of winter we are in for. At the same time, I was reflecting on how beautiful this last month has been.  Wonderful ‘easy-on-the-body’ temperatures, an inch or more of much-needed rain, wonderful Autumn colours; all being shared for the last ten days with our guests: Reggie and Chris.

I was unsure what to write about to reflect my thoughts and was then saved by the September Digest from Transition Culture back in the old country.  I started to read it and immediately wanted to share it with you; dear reader.

First, to set the tone, here is a photograph taken just before I sat down to write today’s post.

Space for Nature - all around us!
Space for Nature – all around us!

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Transitioners’ Digest (September 2014)

This month we have been exploring the theme of “Making Space for Nature” from a wide range of different angles. We started with an editorial piece which argued that one of the key things that digest2nature can bring our work doing Transition is a sense of wonder. Something to do with glowworms apparently. We grabbed George Monbiot before he went on stage and talked about his book Feral and the concept of rewilding.

Writer and founder of the charity Write to Freedom, Caspar Walsh, talked about the vital role nature can play in the healing of young men. “She, it, whatever it is”, he told us, “works on them and softens them up so I don’t have to do all the work”. Ecopsychologist Mary-Jayne Rust talked about the impacts being separated from nature can have on us, and the benefits we get from making space for it. “When was the last time you heard of an activist going on a pilgrimage for eight months?” she asked.

Isabel Carlisle introduced us to Community Charters, and the potential they have for making space for nature at the community scale. Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, and of the theory of Nature Deficit Disorder, talked to us via Skype. “If we’re not careful”, he told us, “environmentalists and others who care about the future of nature will carry nature in their briefcases, not in their hearts”. Mike Jones, who builds natural play spaces for kids, talked about the need to make space for “the primodial nature of kids”.

Sept14

Aniol Esteban of New Economics Foundation reflected on why we need to make space for nature in economics. He told us:

Nature contributes to our mental health. It delivers mental health benefits and physical health benefits. It delivers a wide range of societal benefits. It contributes to our education. It can help reduce levels of crime. It can help urban regeneration. There is a huge range of areas and ways in which nature contributes to our wellbeing – individual wellbeing and collective wellbeing.

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David Nobbs

TootingHayley Spann, one of the participants in One Year in Transition, reflected on “what nature taught me”. We had a review of the first mainstream novel about Transition, The Second Life of Sally Mottram by David Nobbs (see right). We also talked to the author about where the idea came from, and what makes a good story. We had a recipe for “Transition Plum and Almond Cake”. Mark Watson reflected on the importance of ‘Making Space for Flowers’, and the many ways in which his Transition initiatives, Sustainable Bungay, create opportunities for people to encounter and benefit from nature.

Rob Hopkins reflected on how different our approach to managing water and drought would be if we took forests as the model on which we based it. He also responded to a critique of Transition by Ted Trainer and explored why the language we use to talk about this stuff really matters. He also went on the Peoples’ Climate March in London and reflected on how that was.

We heard from Transition initiatives about their experience of making space for nature in what they do. Hilary Jennings of Transition Town Tooting talked about the Tooting Foodival. Chris Bird wrote about the Transition Homes initiative in Totnes. Cara Naden discussed the many ways in which Transition Langport make space for nature. “I believe we all have an inherent bond with nature”, she wrote. “It makes us feel happy and healthy and makes us feel we are doing something positive and worthwhile for the benefit of wildlife, each other and ourselves”.

A very rich and thought-provoking month we hope you’ll agree. Our theme for October will be Transition and development. We hope you enjoy that too.

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(Note: there were many links in the original digest so do please check there as well.)

Can’t resist a couple more pictures from home to underline how we feel so strongly about having space for nature.

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A misty October morning from a year ago.
A misty October morning from a year ago.

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Trust between deer and Jean.
This is what making space is all about!

Let’s all have a great month of October embracing the natural world around us howsoever it can be done.

Extreme weather events

Nature is really starting to speak to mankind!

I started writing this post back on the 25th September.  Why so far back?  Because that day something came into my in-box that deserved the widest circulation.  It’s an event being held just under a month from today, November 14th.  But it seemed worthwhile to give this amount of notice.  However, the reason why I wanted to start it back in September was because in the last 24 hours of that day, the 25th, the UK offered very good evidence of the significant increase in severe weather.

From the UK’s Met Office blog on the 25th September, 2012, (I have included the inches equivalent of the mm figures)

Rainfall figures: over a month’s worth of rain in two days

Rainfall totals for the past few days – from 1:00 am Sunday morning to 8:00 am this morning [Tuesday] – show some areas have already had more than twice their usual September rainfall. Ravensworth, in North Yorkshire, has seen the highest total, with 107.8 mm [4.24 in] falling, over 200 % of its average September rainfall.

The rainfall has been widespread, with many areas across the United Kingdom receiving large totals. Killylane, in Antrim Northern Ireland saw 98.2 mm [3.87 in], and high totals were also recorded in the south-west, with 72.4 mm [2.85 in] in Filton and 65.2 mm [2.57 in] at Dunkeswell Aerodrome.

Dunkeswell Aerodrome in Devon was where I used to fly our group-owned Piper Super Cub, still in military markings.

Piper Super Cub at Dunkeswell Aerodrome
A carriage made for two!

Anyway, back to the plot!

Also on that day (September 25th) the website Think Progress released this item,

Markey/Waxman Report: Carbon Pollution Creating A ‘Cocktail Of Heat And Extreme Weather’

By Climate Guest Blogger and Stephen Lacey on Sep 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm

by Katie Valentine and Stephen Lacey

Two House Democrats have released a report that aims to connect the dots on climate change and extreme weather events.

The staff report, issued by Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), outlines the past year’s record-setting temperatures, storms, droughts, water levels and wildfires, and is being circulated in an attempt to rebuild congressional momentum to address climate change.

“The evidence is overwhelming — climate change is occurring and it is occurring now,” said Rep. Waxman, a Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, in a statement.

The report outlines the stunning array of record-breaking extreme weather events throughout 2012 within five categories:

Extreme temperatures

  • July was the hottest month ever recorded in the continental U.S.  Some areas were 8 degrees warmer than average, with the average temperature in the lower 48 states at 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.3 degrees above the 20th century average.
  • Spring 2012 saw the warmest March, third-warmest April and second-warmest May in history, and was approximately 5.2 degrees Fahrenheit above average overall.
  • Through late June 2011, daily record highs were outnumbering daily record lows by 9-to-1.

Drought

  • As of September, 64 percent of the continental U.S. is experiencing drought, with August and September 2012 comparable to the worst months of the 1930s Dust Bowl.
  • By the beginning of August, more than half the counties in the U.S. had been designated disaster zones because of drought.
  • As of August, 51 percent of corn and 38 percent of soybeans grown in the U.S. were rated as poor or very poor by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some states’ corn fared worse – Indiana had 70 percent of its corn rated as poor or very poor, and Missouri had 84 percent.

Wildfires

  • This fire season 8.6 million acres – roughly the size of Connecticut and New Jersey combined – have burned in the U.S., with fires still burning in parts of the West.
  • Wildfires in Colorado have killed six people, destroyed 600 homes and caused about $500 million in property damage.
  • There has been nearly a four-fold increase in large wildfires in the West in recent decades, with fires burning longer and more intensely and wildfire seasons lasting longer.

Storms

  • Tropical Storm Debby caused Florida to have its wettest June on record. The storm killed at least seven people and also damaged more than 7,500 homes and businesses.
  • In July, the “derecho” storm system killed at least 23 people and left more than 3.7 million people without power.
  • In August, Hurricane Isaac caused storm surges of up to 15 feet in some places and contributed to Louisiana and Mississippi experiencing their second-wettest August on record and to Florida experiencing its wettest summer on record.

Extreme water levels and water temperatures

  • In July, water in the Great Lakes reached temperatures of 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit – more than 10 degrees warmer than the same time last year.
  • In August, water temperatures of up to 97 degrees and low water levels caused tens of thousands of fish to die in Midwestern lakes and rivers.
  • Low water levels in the Mississippi watershed have caused some barge companies to reduce their loads by 25 percent and have caused harbor closures in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi.

According to the report, 2012 natural disasters (not including wildfires or drought) have caused $22 billion in insured losses and more than 220 deaths as of August. The full cost of 2012’s extreme weather events isn’t yet known, but it’s expected to rival 2011’s record-breaking $55 billion.

The document outlines what scientists following the link between extreme weather and climate change have been saying for years: more carbon pollution adds extra energy in the atmosphere, thus warming the planet and making extreme weather events more likely.

Read the full report here.

So what came into my in-box?  An announcement from The Climate Reality Project: 24 HOURS OF REALITY: The Dirty Weather Report.

NOVEMBER 14-15, 2012

A lot can change in a day. This November 14, we hope you can help us make big change happen.

Join The Climate Reality Project for 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report. This will be our second annual, online event showing how global climate change is connected to the extreme weather we experience in our daily lives. The entire 24-hour event will be broadcast live over the Internet.

We’ll move between our home studio in New York City and into each region of the world, bringing voices, news and multimedia content across all 24 time zones. We’ll feature videos from around the globe, man-on-the-street reports, music, and most importantly, stories from communities moving forward with solutions.

Most of all, we’ll generate new energy and urgency around the fact that we must — and we can — work together to address the climate crisis.

GET INVOLVED

Sign up today to be a part of the global community taking part in 24 Hours of RealityRSVP on Facebook. Share this event with your friends. Submit your own video about the impacts of climate change where you live. And keep checking this page: We’ll post further details as the event draws closer.

Millions of people around the world know that the weather, their climate is changing.  But if you can take some more powerful evidence of just how it’s all changing then go and read a recent report on the Grist website, entitled ‘Deadly connection: New report on extreme weather and climate change’

So one more video to close.