Monday, July 11, 2022

Opportunity Lost

Many local authorities recognise that, with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, all sections of society will have a role to play in addressing the challenges ahead. Some are at the forefront of initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by decarbonising their vehicle fleet or switching to renewable energy sources. But unfortunately too many tentatively engage or, with a clear lack of organisational understanding, steer clear of the issues. 
For some environmental achievements are measured in the award of Green Flags or honourable mentions for short-term seasonal initiatives.
To address the challenges future generations will face a transformation in organisational understanding is required both in energy use and improving biodiversity.
Take the example of a roundabout in Antrim. A large flat grassy area with a sculpture of a tree adorned with leaves etched with children's artwork, a Peace project funded by the EU, is in the centre. Some hedging radiates out from the centre but mostly it's a flat grassy surface.
Last year a local environmentalist persuaded the council to leave the area unmowed to allow the grasses and other plants to grow. They agreed and during the summer a botanist was asked to carry out a survey of the plants growing there. What he found was quite amazing, 55 different species, some rare were growing on the site. So varied was the fauna that he was surprised that the site had not been especially seeded. The results were provided to the council as an example of what could be achieved by actually doing nothing.
This year
the council mowed the area and left it like a bowling green.
No doubt council has all sorts of policies and statements about the environment, none of them have meaning unless the organisation understands the challenges we face and the changes needed to meet them. If council and other agencies don't have the knowledge there are many environmentalists locally who do, time to listen.

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