At last, a future we can all aspire to!
Have you watched A Life on Our Planet yet? Here at The Hub we are super excited at the message it sends about making sustainable steps to improve biodiversity, here’s some more info on changes you can make to help.
First things first, I have worked in sustainability for over ten years now, I am a passionate supporter of all things green and have long been onboard with taking action for the planet. But I must say, I found the positive switch in narrative on David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet one of the most refreshing approaches to engaging people in the topic of sustainability I’ve seen for years.
There are two camps of people; those who engage with the topic of climate change and those who don’t. Honestly, in my experience there is very little you can do to change that (and believe me I’ve tried). What made me particularly excited during A Life on Our Planet is that the topic of biodiversity has the potential to change hearts and minds in a way like never before.
Why is that you ask? Well, firstly, there is something much more tangible about biodiversity and the impact of habitat loss compared to presenting figures on climate change and, on top of that, it’s a battle that is spread far and wide – but is also closer to home too. Planting wild flowers, encouraging bees, feeding birds, all simple steps that make us feel warm and fuzzy and have a positive impact on the planet.
The documentary presented one of the starkest statistics I’ve seen in a long while – of all the living biomass on the planet, only 4% is made up of wild animals. The remaining 96% is made up of humans and livestock. The very essence of an effective eco system is biodiversity. Without it, life doesn’t grow or thrive. Mass agriculture and deforestation in the way of palm oil planting robs the planet of one of its most fundamental strategies to maintain life.
But it doesn’t stop there. If we successfully rewild the planet the carbon offsetting from trees, peatland and wetlands can massively improve our future in relation to climate change. Plus provide habitat for wildlife species and improve the world’s biodiversity.
The documentary also presented the case for looking after the world’s population and, in doing so, containing it in a more sustainable and better standard for all; a world where we are all better off and eco systems can thrive. Surely there aren’t many who could argue with that?
Below are some top tips on how you can help.
Less is more!
We’re living in a throwaway society, we’re buying more than ever and, so much of it, we don’t even need. Living sustainably doesn’t have to mean making big sacrifices, it can be as simple as living within our means and not acting wastefully.
Covid-19 has brought up even bigger dilemmas with throwaway culture as so much needs to be single use in the fight against the spread of germs. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do – pick up a reusable mask, wash your hands regularly rather than relying on hand sanitiser (this is a much more effective method of evading germs too.)
Look at your buying habits and see where you can reduce waste and lengthen the life span of items. Repair rather than replace, shop preloved rather than brand new. Buy one quality item instead of four cheap items that won’t last.
Change your diet:
Before you start, I’m not saying we all need to go vegan. I’ve personally found a balance of giving up meat and most dairy, while occasionally having eggs or fish. Some people will give up more, some less, but imagine the impact if we ALL made the commitment to reduce something. Perhaps more realistic goals will yield better results than a blanket ‘let’s go vegan’ statement. Though a shout out to those who are vegan – all power to you friends!
The facts speak for themselves – if 60% of the planet’s biomass is livestock, its clear we need to do what we can to manage this. The UK has an impressive record on sustainable farming practices; be sure to shop local when you do eat meat and plan your shop carefully to avoid food waste.
Interested in trying some vegan options? Don’t forget Greggs at Quorum retail is home to the Vegan Sausage Roll!
Let it grow wild.
It can be hard to let go of a preconceived vision of neatness and order. Here at Quorum Park ‘front of house’ requires a certain standard of upkeep, but we’ve always had a policy of letting the edges of the park grow wild. It stops interference with nesting birds, encourages wildflowers to thrive, creates a wildlife corridor where local wildlife can travel around the area without interference from humans and it looks great. What’s more exciting after all – wild space or a neat lawn?
You can read more about our wildlife corridor, bug hotels and wildflower garden here.
Our Wildlife Garden in the Q15 area was created using funding from The Greggs Foundation and their environmental grant scheme. If you are interested in doing something similar you may be eligible for funding too.
Putting community first:
By far my most favourite part of A Life on Our Planet was the comment on population growth. The show uses social reforms in Japan as an example of how when a community that looks after its people, provides them with health and wellbeing and what they need to thrive, population numbers begin to drop rather than grow! This is due to women in comfortable living environments tending to have less children. A key area of focus being supporting young girls into further career aspirations; in doing so perhaps encouraging them to start a family later, naturally limiting the size of their family.
The essence of this idea being, a world that is cared for, supported and nurtured would result in a plateau of population growth. You might ask how as an individual you can support this. It can be quite a hard concept to translate into action but there is lots you can do: support fair trade, speak up on just causes, value education and invest your money in companies and products with similar ethics. The hotter a topic this becomes, the more political leverage it will carry that will be reflected in political policy. In short, think carefully where you put your tick on election days.
Useful Links and Further reading: