Counting On …

As participants meet, discuss, negotiate and take action at COP26, what is at stake is the wellbeing of the amazing ecosystem in which we live. Caring for and improving biodiversity is essential. So many of the earth’s ecosystems can protect us from the adverse effects of climate change, and yet they are so vulnerable to damage from human activity!

Pray for, and support, action to enhance global biodiversity.

Seagrass, the only flowering marine plant, grows in the shallower waters of our seas and oceans as it is reliant on sunlight for photosynthesis. Where it is well established it forms meadows where its roots stabilises sediment on the seabed preventing erosion. Its roots also oxygenate the sediments supporting many burrowing organisms. As it grows it sequesters carbon dioxide and does so at rates 10 to 40 higher than that of forests! It provides food, breeding grounds and nurseries for many marine species – from seahorses to seals, dog fish and octopus.

However world wide seagrasses are under threat. These marine meadows are damaged and destroyed by sewage and chemical effluents, by algal blooms that restrict sunlight penetrating the water and so preventing photosynthesis, by mechanical damage from anchor chains, marine vessels, and dredging as well as from over-fishing which disturbs the balance of the ecosystem. It is estimated that the UK has lost 95% of its seagrass meadows. Restoration projects are in progress in Swansea Bay, Dale Bay Pembrokeshire, in the Solent and off Skye – but they are still very small in scale.

Author: Judith Russenberger

Environmentalist and theologian, with husband and three grown up children plus one cat, living in London SW14. I enjoy running and drinking coffee - ideally with a friend or a book.

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