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How your interest in wildlife can play a part in the fight against climate change

21 July, 2021
By RSPB Cymru

One of our partners, RSPB Cymru, is taking action to fight the climate crisis. They explain how your interest in wildlife can help to protect our nature and wildlife.

Sometimes it’s easy to feel like our individual actions will have little effect on combatting the nature and climate emergency. But your actions can help spark the recovery of Wales’ most beloved wildlife.

It’s easy to take our wildlife for granted sometimes, especially as we go about our busy lives. However, our wildlife is valuable to us in many ways. From enigmatic sea birds to the humble earth worm, wildlife contributes to our health and wellbeing more than we could ever imagine, providing food security, ecological stability and social and economic wellbeing. The financial value of the UK’s woodlands, farmland and freshwater habitats alone has been estimated at £178bn.

The wonders of wildlife

Wildlife has many benefits, combatting climate change to leisure and tourism.  Studies such as Wellbeing through Wildlife have shown that access to wildlife rich environments benefits our physical and mental health.  Allowing wildlife to thrive is also important in the fight against climate change. Carbon storing habitat such as peat bogs and saltmarshes are vital nature-based solutions supporting and enhancing wildlife diversity, alongside delivering co-benefits for climate change adaptation, soil health and water management.  Ultimately, the state of our wildlife is a key indicator of the health of our environment.

Wildlife and climate change

However, the climate crisis is having a dramatically damaging effect on our wildlife. The State of Nature 2019 report found that one in six species of wildlife, plants and fungi is at risk of disappearing in Wales. Climate change is already changing the patterns of migratory birds such as swallows, increasing pests and diseases and altering habitat and food availability for a range of species. Swallows are arriving in Wales 15 days earlier and breeding 11 days earlier than in the 1960s. The puffin, iconic to Wales’ coastal islands, has also shown a big drop in numbers, with a shortage in food supply due to climate change believed to be a major reason. At RSPB’s Ynys-hir reserve in the Dyfi estuary, loss of salt marsh habitats at the site has caused problems for the wildlife. The team have noticed several climate related changes, with resident species such as black grouse and golden plover declining.

Recent climate change protests and policies that increase awareness and engagement have had a positive effect in Wales. However, if drastic changes aren’t made, climate change and associated loss of wildlife will continue.

What can you do?

Even though the challenges that climate change brings to Welsh wildlife may seem massive, you can still play a part. Your passion for wildlife can help to combat climate change and promote recovery of Wales’ wonderful wildlife.

Here are just a few ways you can get support your local wildlife in the fight against climate change:

  • Educate yourself and others – spread the word on the importance of wildlife your area, connecting people with wildlife.
  • Take political action – join protests, sign petitions and contact politicians. By engaging with your local politicians and representatives, you can ensure that they are informed on conservation issues and make the right choices for wildlife.
  • Get involved in local events– Many organisations run local groups, outreach events and volunteering opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Check out ways to join in in Wales.
  • Encourage wildlife in your garden– make your outdoor space, big or small, a haven for wildlife. For example by feeding hedgehogs,who find it difficult to find their natural food source of insects and earthworms, and mowing your garden less often to promote biodiversity.
  • Support environmental organisations– become a member or donate if you can!

 

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