A WORCESTERSHIRE charity has called for the nature and climate crises to be tackled ‘together and at speed’.
Worcestershire Wildlife Trust said the two crises were inseparable and humans won’t solve either if we don’t all take action and prepare for a changing world.
If the two crises are not tackled, Worcestershire could see more extreme rainfall events and floods as well as extensive droughts that cause wildfires across heathland in the north and grasslands in the south of the county.
The charity is warning that much-loved wildlife like cuckoos and habitats like wildflower-rich grasslands that support multitudes of bees, butterflies, birds and mammals may not survive a rapidly changing climate.
Together with trusts across the country, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is calling on the UK Presidency of the global climate conference COP26 to tackle the nature crisis alongside the climate crisis as well as encouraging local authorities, businesses and residents across the county to do their bit.
Colin Raven, director of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, said: “Nature plays a vital role in storing carbon safely as well as providing us with clean water, clean air and much more. But our natural places are in decline and now face an even greater risk of degradation from the results of climate change that are already inevitable in the near future.”
The trust is looking for sites next to its own nature reserves to ensure wildlife has space to move and adapt as changes to our climate take hold.
Across the county, the charity is involved in many projects to create and improve space for nature that also has positive benefits for our climate. Wetlands, grasslands, heathland and saltmarsh as well as woodlands all store carbon so ensuring their creation and restoration helps wildlife, the climate and people.
After buying the site in 2001, the Trust embarked on its largest wetland restoration project at Hill Court Farm near Upton upon Severn.
The intensive farmland was situated on what had previously been wildlife-rich wet grassland and in the last 20 years the Trust has gradually been rewetting the fields, seeing breeding lapwing and providing a winter home for thousands of ducks.
As well as helping to alleviate downstream flooding, the site also stores and sequesters over 19 tonnes of carbon each year.
Since the Trust was donated a small area that became The Knapp and Papermill nature reserve in 1968, it has sought to acquire adjacent pockets of land to build in resilience against future changes and threats.
The nature reserve is now more than 80 acres and consists of woodland, orchard, grasslands and a brook, all of which capture and store carbon in the plants and soils.
In addition, solar panels have been installed on the education and volunteer centre and to pump water for the livestock that graze the wildflower-rich meadows.
Colin added: “We all have a part to play in ensuring a safe and healthy future for our planet.
“Whether you’re a land manager, a business, a community group or an individual, there are simple and easy things that we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint, adapt to climate change and make a big difference to the natural world – from reconsidering what we eat, how we travel and how we use resources like water and energy.
“One simple way to help ourselves and nature is by planting more around our homes and communities to lower high temperatures and soak up floodwater.
“We have more ideas on what people can do on the climate change pages of our website.”
The Trust is one of 46 Wildlife Trusts across the UK calling on the Government to commit to take urgent steps to stop carbon-emitting activities and to take action in the areas of peat, farming, woodland, planning and our marine environment that will allow natural processes to be restored to help both nature and the climate.
Visit www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/cop26 for more information about the conference and how individuals can help to save the world.