A little individual effort from us means a lot to the planet
It seems that dire news about climate change and environmental catastrophe is hitting the headlines on almost a daily basis now.
Plastic in the oceans; global warming; weather extremes; sea temperature absorption – all topics that have been in the news this past week.
Unwelcome changes that will come as no surprise to those who manage the land and its environment on a micro level – the gardeners.
We can’t run around panicking like headless chickens and wringing our hands, hoping governments will act – we can do something NOW, as individuals.
Even the smallest act by a single person will make a difference – as will doing nothing.
Gardens cover a huge area of the UK
It’s amazing how much land gardeners actually control.
Researchers Ken Thompson and Steve Head worked out roughly how much UK land is given over to gardens in the report ‘Gardens as a resource for wildlife’ for the Wildlife Gardening Forum: “UK garden cover is 432,964 ha… one-fifth the size of Wales.
“Putting this in protected landscape terms, it is the area of the Norfolk Broads, and the Exmoor, Dartmoor and Lake District National Parks added together.
“One-quarter of the area of a typical city (and half its green space) is private gardens.”
That’s a lot of land. We can help to lessen the effects of climate change and adapt what we grow to survive the extremes in weather we now have to take for granted. Some of the things you can do:
Cut down on plastic usage
Stop, or cut down, on the use of plastic in the garden. Don’t use black plastic pots, as these can’t be recycled.
Stop using peat
Use peat-free compost mixes. Some, like Dalefoot Compost, use a mix of sheep’s wool and bracken, which holds water and feeds plants too. It’s more expensive but saves on feed and watering time.
Your crops will be better for you and so will your garden ecosystem.
Plant a tree
They battle pollution and provide a whole ecosystem for garden creatures.
Don’t concrete over gardens
This increases the chances of flooding in torrential rain. If you must park a car off-street, use gravel, which allows water to percolate away naturally.
Grow to suit your garden
Every garden has its own unique microclimate. Really pay attention to what thrives – and dies – in your garden. If a plant fails because of excess rainfall, grow something that will relish it.
Grow single flowers
Simple flowers make it easy for pollinators – avoid double flowers. The insects will pollinate your crops, too.
Make your own compost
Rich organic material will feed and store water. If you don’t have the room, use council garden recycling bins – don’t throw garden rubbish away for landfill.
Reuse and recycle
If it will hold soil and can be made to have drainage holes, it’s a plant pot!
Reduce your carbon footprint
The majority of supermarket tomatoes, etc, are grown abroad (notably southern Spain, which uses migrant labour from Africa – check out Simon Reeve’s Mediterranean programme – you’ll feel differently about buying cheap veg). Grow your own if you can, or buy from local growers.
These are just the issues that have sprung to mind – there are so many other things we can do. Don’t think it’s up to somebody else – it’s up to YOU. Earth is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.