Science

Environment: what’s looking up and what’s going downhill?

Things are looking up for: rewilding attempts. ‘Guerilla’ farmer Derek Gow continues on his quest to rewild Britain’s native fauna. The 55 year old has released 25,000 water voles and multiple pairs of beavers to date, and plans to begin releasing storks and wildcats over the next two years. This may seem counterproductive for a farmer, yet Defra has found that rewilding beavers has led to significant improvements in flood management along the River Otter – the beaver’s damming exploits create a network of small tributaries, lessening the effects of flooding during periods of ‘peak flow’. 

It’s going downhill for: the Amazon rainforest, which has been ‘condemned to destruction’ under Jair Bolsanaro’s leadership, according to a former top official of Brazil’s environmental agency, Ibama. An estimated 63,000 fires have already raged across the Amazon this year, reaching heights comparable to that of last year’s devastation. 

It’s all going downhill for: British biodiversity. Construction began on Friday 4th September on the highly contentious High Speed 2 Railway Project. The Woodlands Trust estimates that 108 ancient woodlands could be imperilled by the project’s construction, alongside 33 sites of special scientific interest and a further 9,696 hectares of wildlife sites. Despite months of peaceful civilian protest and green political opposition, the project is still ploughing ahead, however. There is an argument for increased rail travel between London and Birmingham ultimately benefiting the UK’s carbon footprint, however, if it comes at the expense of our native landscapes, is it really worth the cost? Only time will tell.  


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22/09/2020

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Meg Watts


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