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Water, Potecting Aquifers & Climate Change.

May 29, 2012

Water, Protecting Aquifers & Climate Change.

In 1984 Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative & Juno Enterprise Charitable Association prioritised two critical strands of work: biodiversity loss & climate change. We were ahead of the game! Records were been broken in Siberia on June 19th. 2020. Land Surface Temperature (LST) reached 45°C at several locations in the Arctic Circle, according to data retrieved by Sentinel3. These are important areas for permafrost, trapped CO2 and methane. Temperatures n the Arctic Circle are now up in the 40’s Celsius, hotter than the UK Summer heatwave at 30°C. This is not going to end well if we do not have action!

Here is a snapshot of a Met Office UK rainfall record to demonstrate climate breakdown:

Feb 2020. 400%+ average rainfall in North England & Wales. Massive floods

May 2020. Less than 20% average rainfall for large swathes of England & Wales. Drought looming

These weather extremes are becoming the norm & worsening; they challenge the viability of UK farmland, posing huge risks for food growers and farmers. Britain, traditionally, has not been one of the more hostile environments in the world. In 2020 & 2021, arable farmers in the East midlands struggled to get a decent harvest, many turned to growing canary grass for bird seed, at little return. If the UK is struggling, things could be a lot worse in other countries, We need to join together to repair the damage.

We know now that global average temperatures 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels & biodiversity loss will create catastrophic, irreversible harm to human health. World leaders want to contain global warming to 1.5°C (already 1.2) this will not protect us. The world must not wait for the pandemic to pass before acting. Reaching net zero (emitting less greenhouse gases than are removes from the atmosphere) relies on unproven technology. Global warming will likely surpass the 2°C threshold, scientifically predicted as catastrophic, with extreme weather & other impacts on human, animal, and plant life. This is the greatest threat to global public health & to our planet. It is vital to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5°C, to promote the vegan diet as the norm & to restore nature.

The UK Government, the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation, Worldwatch Institute in Washington and others have acknowledged the damaging effects of livestock production on the climate. FAO state that animal farming creates 18% of greenhouse gas emissions; this includes 37% of methane emissions (with 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide) and 65% of the’ greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. In its report “Livestock’s Long Shadow”, the FAO emphasises the enormous impact which is greater than “the transport sector world-wide”: sea, air and land combined.

Jonathon Porritt says that excessive meat consumption is amongst the “gravest threats to the long-term stability of humankind”. Given that animal farming uses vastly more water than fruit, vegetable or cereal farming this seems possible. In future years water could become our most valuable resource.

Professor Tim Jackson, of Surrey University, says that meat production is approximately 20 times more carbon-intensive than vegetable production, an estimated 30% of carbon dioxide in the average diet comes from animal produce.

Chicago University researchers have shown that a vegan diet could make a bigger contribution to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases than converting to an eco-friendly car. The choice of food produced and eaten is more important than air miles. A vegan diet could reduce individual carbon footprints from food by 50%-601%. The UK has seen the cost of foot and mouth; money would be better spent to fund education, give subsidies, research and tax incentives and bring in pollution penalties and encourage sustainable, locally produced, healthy plant-based diets.

The Dawn Chorus Vegan Kozy kitchen project, started in 2000, has opened up the possibility of vegan diet & life styles to many thousands of members of our community. We promote The Plant Based Treaty. Our CEO added a statement to the Royal Society of Arts website, to contribute to stimulating regenerative thinking & building on our contribution to the RSA lead, Food Farming & Countryside Commission Initiative.

LAND: 80% of agricultural land in the UK is used to raise animals. 20 thousand 11b of potatoes can be grown on 1 acre but only 1651b of beef. Huge areas of rain forest are destroyed to grow non-human consumption quality soya to feed battery-raised animals, such as UK turkeys and chickens. Rain forests are destroyed at 125,000 sq. miles per year for to feed animals. 55sq. feet of land is used for every 11b of beef produced on former Rain Forest land.

RAW MATERIALS: 1/3 of all raw materials and fossil fuels used in the UK are used to raise live stock. Producing one single hamburger uses enough fossil fuel to drive a small car 20 miles and enough water for 17 showers.

WATER: 2,500 gallons of water are used to produce 11b of beef. 25 gallons of water are used to produce 11b of wheat. Animal agriculture is the UK’s biggest polluter of water, producing 80 million tons of excrement per year.

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Above: The Dawn Sindh project Pakistan works hard to address the issues of contaminated water supplies in local communities. The women complain that water they walk to get and carry home, is “black”.

Below: “grow your own” Dawn Chorus cascades best practice on real seed organic vegetable gardening. Our volunteers plant annual trials of heritage seeds for the Dawn Chorus heritage trials garden. We use organic mulches to save water.

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As part of our sustainability and climate change work we have been asking our learning communities to research industrial sea fishing & industrial fishing for krill in the pristine waters around Antarctica. They have been discovering how it impacts on all of our lives. It is threatening the future of one of the world’s last great wilderness areas. Krill fishing vessels, in the region, operate near penguin colonies and whale feeding grounds, taking the food from wildlife. Dead seabirds washed up on the Yorkshire coast in 2021…starved by commercial fishing! Fishing boats can spill oil in accidents, seriously threatening the Antarctic ecosystem.

We set up a virtual learning community event during lockdown, in May 2020, promoting awareness of microplastic pollution in oceans. Participants believe this problem is vastly underestimated. Researchers suggest that particles may outnumber zooplankton, which underpin marine life and regulate our climate. Microplastics have entered the food chain in rivers, with birds such as dippers consuming hundreds of particles a day via the aquatic insects on which they feed. Microplastic pollution now contaminates the whole planet, from the Arctic to mountain top-soils to rivers, oceans and sea-beds. Microplastic in seas, very often from the fishing industry, blows ashore in sea breezes (reports suggest hundreds of thousands of tons per year) Humans inhale and consume it, yet the impact on health, are not understood.

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Above: the increase in storms due to climate change hastens coastal erosion in Hunstanton, Norfolk,

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Pictured above, an ancient pollard in Bradgate Park Leicestershire.

Carbon capture technology is a diversion from real climate action. This technology is in its infancy and will takes decades to become effective We don’t have decades. The carbon capture dream, gives the illusion that carbon can be sequestered, whilst allowing fossil fuel industry to continue for decades to come.

Short rotation coppice, can provide sustainable fuel and materials on a short turn around, whilst creating net carbon balance and improving the landscape and biodiversity. Pollards have also historically provided a sustainable supply of wood wood whilst extending the life of the trees. We have called for funded global clean energy programmes for all; the highest standards in wood stove manufacture and short rotation coppice supply. We have distributed information on residential wood stove standards based on Canadian research.

Below: Lambley Dumbles in the snow 2013, do you keep a weather diary, let us know what you are recording.

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Our Biological recording is cross cutting and covers climate change, natural heritage and biodiversity. With rapid climate change, the ability to collect, manage and interpret information about our natural world has never been more important. 

We remain the East Midland lead on heritage orchards & orchard biodiversity. Our cherry blossom and apple blossom celebrations have been a popular part of our heritage orchards project, as well as tracking changing blossom times.

Dawn Chorus was delighted to contribute to a spring study on bluebells by the Radical Honey project, for community creativity. This project was delivered by our supporter Jacqueline ; see link at the right of this page. Bluebells are a good indicator of weather patterns.

We are experts on landscape level heritage conservation. Migratory corridors offer a chance for species to move north with climate change. The reduction of fragmented landscapes, redressing islandised habitats and isolated species, creates sustainable wildlife communities. Buffer zones protect important areas to wildlife. All can help to create robust landscapes that better deal with climate change and can help to protect what is precious to us.

Pictured below: Black Rocks, Derbyshire. It was taken at a Dawn Chorus & Juno Enterprise partnership activity to support access to social, industrial and natural heritage. Our volunteer who took this photo said: “today helped me to understanding that places have special meaning”.

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