Section: Environment

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The interminable Battle of Jesmond Wood

Adam Sofianos

Sometimes a small issue can cast a big shadow.  It just depends how much light you shine on it.  A small story can act as a signpost to much larger concerns.  This is certainly one of those. In June 2022 a team of demolition vehicles entered a small village wood in Highcliffe, Dorset.  They arrived […]

Wildlife, wilderness and the English landscape

Mick Fletcher

The contrast was dramatic and instructive. Only a day after walking around the deer park at Petworth House, I took a footpath through the grounds of Knepp Castle, a pioneering ‘rewilding’ project in the heart of Sussex. The two estates are less than half an hour apart by car, but a world apart in terms […]

Ella’s Law – the right to breathe clean air

Tom Scott

A Bill led by Baroness Jenny Jones through the House of Lords received strong cross-party support at its second reading today and holds out a real opportunity to save tens of thousands of lives every year, while greatly improving the quality of life in towns and cities across the country – including the South West. […]

Ghost gear: meet the heroes cleaning up our ocean’s frontline

Kristy Westlake

With our oceans quickly filling up with plastic and fish stocks dwindling, it’s time to start talking about the massive whale in the room: ghost gear. An enormous environmental problem caused by commercial fishing and fuelled by our ever-growing appetite for seafood. Kristy Westlake talks to some of the heroes on the ocean’s frontline and […]

Our rivers are dying: protest action in Totnes on Saturday 11 June

Editor-in-chief

Ocean Rebellion (Torbay & South Devon) will be hosting an action “Our rivers are dying” at Steamer Quay Totnes, Saturday 11 June 15:30 to 17:00. The purpose of the action is to promote public awareness that UK rivers are in rapid decline and rivers globally are in poor biological health. Ocean Rebellion also intend to call […]

Rishi Sunak delivers a package to set the world on fire

Tom Scott

Unfortunately, it will do this all too literally, by driving up new oil and gas extraction while doing far too little to address the acute poverty that now faces millions. Tom Scott lays bare the shocking truth. The U-turn in government policy that everyone was expecting finally arrived today, when Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a […]

Is Brixham in danger of being conned yet again?

Anthea Simmons

So many towns and villages across our region desperately need more funding to support the poor, the elderly and the young. Levelling Up funds strike many of us as a bit of pump-priming disguised as an ideological commitment to close the growing, yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots (the consequence of twelve years […]

Dorset Council environmental decisions: moral and economic madness?

Sarah Cowley

Moral and economic madness? That is the charge being laid at the door of Dorset Council, by local environmental activists, who question whether the Council understands the realities of the climate crisis. Just six months ago, the UK hosted the UN Climate Change Conference (‘COP26’) in Glasgow, in November 2021. That conference concluded with a […]

Portreath-based charity raises money by recycling the ‘unrecyclable’

Editor-in-chief

Upcycle Kernow, a Portreath-based community interest company, has raised more than £2,000 by collecting “unrecyclable” waste from the community to be recycled.   The waste collected includes cheese packaging, bread bags, personal care and beauty products and packaging, oral care products, home cleaning products and packaging, biscuit and snack wrappers and much more. This waste is not included […]

The joys of printing and XR

Leslie Tate
Tree of life

I interviewed Stroud-based printmaker and artist Nat Morley about her unique processes, her protest art and her time spent with Barrel Well Aboriginal Community, Australia. Nat was a prize-winning geographer at Oxford University, sings with Tewkesbury Abbey choir, and her artwork is on permanent display at the Cotswold Craftsmen Gallery in Nailsworth. Leslie: What are the main artistic medium/areas you work in? […]

How to solve climate change AND end our dependence on hostile regimes

Simon Oldridge
graphic of man with empty pockets held up by a fuel pump as if it were a gun

Earlier this month, the UN expert panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a major report detailing the impacts of the crisis. Inger Andersen, head of the UN Environment Program, told us that ‘climate change isn’t around the corner waiting to pounce – it is already upon us raining down blows on billions of people’.  […]

Cop 26 and ‘the fierce urgency of now’

Phil Shepherd
Storm - made out of rycled materials - at Cop 26

It would have been much cheaper to fly, particularly as the UK government had recently reduced air passenger duty on internal flights, but John Potter and I took the train to Glasgow for COP 26.   We didn’t have passes, or any kind of access to the conference, but wanted to see what ideas and […]

Supply and demand

Tony Whitehead
power station chimneys

We are addicted to fossil fuels, so the news that European oil and gas supplies may be interrupted by the current global geopolitical situation linked to the unravelling humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is focusing minds. ‘Something must be done’ before the lights go out and the home fires stop burning. However, in a myopia we […]

Latest dire warning from the IPCC report – what are we doing locally to counter climate breakdown?

Belinda Bawden
IPCC report cover

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest report this week. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, described it as an “atlas of human suffering”. Alice Bell, co-director at the climate change charity Possible, wrote in the Guardian: “The key findings are bleak, if familiar. Climate breakdown is accelerating rapidly; many of the […]

“Better without Barclays!” Extinction Rebellion in Plymouth

Tony Whitehead
XR protestors, Plymouth

Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion in Devon and Cornwall gathered with Plymothians today to stage a symbolic silent funeral procession through Plymouth to Barclays bank. This was part of a “Better Without Barclays” campaign, a UK-wide movement calling out the investments that Barclays make in the fossil fuel industry. The funeral march, complete with coffin, […]

XR urge Devon County Council to stop funding fossil fuel companies

Tony Whitehead

Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) staged a protest today [Friday 25 February] outside Devon County Hall in Exeter to highlight the county council’s continued investment in fossil fuels through its pension fund. XR rebels scaled scaffolding above the entrance to County Hall and lowered a huge banner emblazoned with “Stop Funding Fossil Fuels”. The […]

A little universe is destroyed: an unintended consequence of the countryside stewardship grant

Rebecca Gethin

You might have read about the government’s commitment to safeguarding wildlife and conserving the environment which is, according to Defra’s newly-published road map, to be “the cornerstone of the government’s new agricultural policy, based on the principle of paying public money for public goods, such as clean air and water, thriving wildlife, engagement with the […]

The Big Garden Birdwatch is on NOW! What will YOU see?

Anna Andrews
Goldfinch on a branch

Yes, it’s called the Big Garden Birdwatch, but you don’t have to have a garden to join in, so please do! Nearly everyone can take part if they want to: in a park, on a walk somewhere – especially a place where there are trees and hedges, or in a supermarket car park: anywhere there […]

Ecological confidence trick

Nick Dobbs
Horses standing in field at Highmoor Farm

At the heart of Bournemouth and Poole lies Talbot Heath Nature Reserve – an extraordinary 37-hectare fragment of the once ‘Great Heath’ that stretched uninterrupted from the Purbeck hills to the New Forest. Since 1800, 80 per cent of heathland has been lost worldwide, and today the UK is the custodian of 20 per cent […]

Starting a tree nursery

Buffy Fletcher
new tree nursery

It started with a throwaway remark. At an early, virtual meeting of the Westbury Sub Mendip parish tree group someone wondered aloud about whether it might be possible to start a tree nursery. One member left the Zoom call and returned after five minutes. He had consulted his wife and they were happy for us […]

Farming: the great betrayal

Sadie Parker
meme of Boris Johnson against map of North Shropshire and a tractor

Various reasons are given for the Liberal Democrats’ stunning by-election win in Leave-voting North Shropshire on 16 December. In Helen Morgan, they had a strong, local candidate who fought a vibrant, positive campaign and was able to inspire tactical voting by members of other progressive parties, notably Labour. The Conservative candidate, impressive on paper, was […]

Cornwall Council flies in the face of the climate crisis

Tom Scott

On Monday, Conservative-led Cornwall Council announced with a fanfare that flights between Newquay and London will be resuming next month. Curiously, it omitted to mention just how much this will be costing council taxpayers in Cornwall. Tom Scott explores the inequity behind the headlines. The so-called public service obligation (PSO) deal struck between Eastern Airways, […]