Counting on …day 1.114

18th May 2023

The United Nations Environment Programme is called on all countries to reduce their plastic consumption by 80% by 2040. Plastics are problem items because they are made from oil and thus come with an inbuilt unsustainable carbon footprint, and because much of the plastic is not recycled and instead causes pollution – especially in marine areas.

To cut our use of plastics, we will need to cut our dependency on plastic packaging. Our local cafe which also has its own coffee roasting business now supplies beans packaging free. The beans are stored in silos and you simply decant them into your own container (the cafe also sell reusable tins). Simple!

Counting on …day 1.113

17th May 2023

Yorkshire Rewilding comments “Whether you have a patio, an allotment, a grand estate or oodles of passion, you CAN make a difference. Rewilding works at every scale. The real power lies in joining the dots — connecting the places and people working towards a common goal: a Yorkshire teeming with life at every level.”

The same is true for other areas. Here in Richmond parks and various streams and rivers, including the Thames forms a network of green spaces and green corridors which favours biodiversity. Richmond is also an area with plenty of gardens and allotments and they too could be areas for re-wilding and nature positive cultivation. The London Wildlife Trust writes “There are over three million gardens in Greater London – 3,267,174 to be precise. That’s an area of 37,942.09 hectares*. In the face of climate change and habitat fragmentation, this massive expanse of green space has enormous untapped potential for both people and wildlife. However, worrying research by London Wildlife Trust shows that London’s gardens are changing from green to grey.”

They also have plenty of practical suggestions –

Counting on … day 1.122

16th May 2023

As consumers – as spenders of money – we can choose both what we buy and what to save and what to share. This week is Christian Aid week which raises money to support the most vulnerable communities in the world and increasingly we see these vulnerabilities overlapping with the impact of the climate crisis – whether that is farmers in Malawi who have been subject to abnormal and prolonged storms this year, or farmers in Ethiopia where the unpredictable weather patterns make coffee growing problematic.

We can help through donations, by buying Fair trade products, and by campaigning asking governments and multinational investors to cancel debts.
eg –

Counting on… day 1.121

15th May 2023

As consumers we can make choices that change the pattern of life – through where we choose to shop, what we buy and indeed whether to buy at all.

The RSPB has set up a certification scheme  Fair to Nature which seeks to promote farming practices  that support  biodiversity: –


By choosing Fair to Nature Products, you’re supporting farmers and businesses who are taking positive action and making a real impact on improving biodiversity and reducing their carbon footprint.”

Counting on … day 1.119

13th May 2023

Using the model of  a citizen’s assembly, the WWF, the RSPB and National Trust put together The People’s Plan for Nature – a vision for the future of nature, and the actions we must all take to protect and renew it. 

The Plan, amongst other things, “…calls on individuals and communities to: 

  • be knowledgable about how nature assets in their areas are supposed to be protected (particularly designated protection sites); take personal responsibility for their own actions within these spaces and be empowered to act around damage to nature where they live.
  • Change their consumption patterns to support nature-friendly businesses, even if the costs to themselves are higher.’

Counting on … day 1.118

12th May 2023

Interesting comments from RSPB –  “One of the latest experiments is planting wildflower strips and alleys of trees within fields. Research has already shown that planting wildflower strips helps bring beneficial insects into the fields, which is good for pollination and pest control. But this ten-year trial hopes to show the strips with trees can help in other ways too, such as:  

  • A wildlife boom – from earthworms underground to the birds in the treetops to everything in between, we hope the strips will increase beneficial wildlife including beneficial pollinators and natural pest controllers. The trial will also look to see if the trees have a negative impact on any species.  
  • Carbon catching trees – we know trees store carbon – but we want to find out accurate figures for how much carbon our trees can capture to help inform future work.
  • Make some money –  apple and cobnut trees within the alleys can provide another source of income. We’ll be keeping a close eye on whether these trees bring home the bucks as well as the bugs.”

Counting on … day 1.116

10th May 2023

A report from Euro News – “The EU has approved plans for the Dutch government to buy out farmers. The scheme is part of the Netherlands’ plan to drastically slash nitrogen emissions, a major source of which is livestock farms. Farmers in the Netherlands have been staging protests over emissions reduction targets since October 2019 – The Dutch ruling coalition wants to cut emissions, predominantly nitrogen oxide and ammonia, by 50 per cent nationwide by 2030. Nearly €1.5 billion will be used to compensate farmers who voluntarily close farms located near nature reserves. Some 3,000 farms are expected to be eligible.”

The reduction in livestock numbers will also make a positive contribution to carbon emissions. 

Counting on … day 1.115

9th May 2023

This week is National Hedgerow Week. Hedgerows can be an excellent space where biodiversity thrives – both in terms of the range of plants that can be found there, and in terms of the number of birds, insects and small mammals that benefit from its ecosystem. Hedges can also serve as wild life corridors linking areas of rich biodiversity. Sadly many  hedgers have been lost as increasing industrialisation of farming has led to the use of larger  pieces of machinery (ploughs, sprayers, harvesters) which can only be used in large fields – ie combined smaller fields where the hedges have been removed. 

Since gardens too can be home to hedges, I was particularly attracted to the idea of creating a hedge using home grown plants – a long term project which will see a hedge replace a row of raspberries reaching the end of their fruitful lifespan. And the National Hedgrewo Week website provides just the information for doing this –

Counting on … day 1.114

8th May 2023

Our vegetable patch is currently under a similar maintenance regimen to the lawns – limited intervention and just seeing which plants self seed and which perennials survive. One plant that self seeds freely is lamb’s lettuce which provide green salad leaves through most of the year. It is currently coming into flower but  I am still picking bits for lunch. As it is going to seed, so other plants are coming on stream. Today’s salad included marjoram, salad burnet, sweet cecily, fennel, wild garlic, garlic mustard and the inner leaves of rainbow chard.