: The environment

How volunteering can help to preserve our natural environment

How volunteering can help to preserve our natural environment

It seems that people are finally cottoning onto the fact that since the Industrial Revolution, human society has inflicted untold damages on the natural environment. Fortunately, more and more organisations are undertaking green initiatives which advocate the use of energy saving devices in offices, creating products using sustainable materials, eliminating hazardous waste products from production processes and more. While some of these stories are truly inspiring, you don’t have to be a member of a multinational corporation to have a positive effect on the environment. In the UK, there are numerous organisations dedicated to conserving the countryside and its wildlife with which you can get involved today. Green organisations The Wildlife Trusts is an organisation consisting of 47 local Wildlife Trusts throughout the UK (check out this map to find your local branch). There are numerous causes you can donate to via the organisation, including: badger vaccination programmes, conservation appeals for various woodland areas, and protection initiatives for endangered species. For bird lovers, the organisation offers a scheme for buying bird feed from Vine House Farm, where a percentage of all profits will be funnelled back into environmental causes. However, for those looking for a more ‘hands-on’ approach to conserving the countryside, volunteers – corporations as well as individuals – are always highly appreciated. There are currently over 30,000 active volunteers throughout the 47 Wildlife Trusts in the UK, carrying out a series of activities including: community gardening, managing habitats, looking after nature reserves and wildlife, hedge-laying, giving lectures to children and more. To find out about volunteering opportunities with The Wildlife Trusts, please complete this online form and...
HS2: A danger to the greenbelt?

HS2: A danger to the greenbelt?

The government’s planned High Speed 2 rail line has garnered a lot of criticism from groups across the political spectrum for a variety of reasons. It is a rail line initially planned to link only two British cities, and one that will result in the destruction of up to 50 ancient woodlands (a problem worth its own post). HS2, as the Department for Transport’s website argues: “will fundamentally improve rail infrastructure in this country, breaking with twentieth century railway thinking and practices.” However, with many groups arguing that it will be an expensive waste of money and permanently damage the green belt, many habitats, woods and forest, it’s worth analysing whether it will change our experience of the countryside forever. Positive environmental effects? On the HS2 website, there is a page entitled ‘Positive Environmental Effects’. Within it, they argue that HS2 will be positive for the environment as a whole, as it “will see millions of air and road trips move to rail, reducing carbon emissions and congestion, and the space it will create for freight will move hundreds of HGVs per hour off the roads.” On the surface, then, it appears that HS2 will have a positive impact on the environment, at least in terms of emissions. However, environmental groups have been sceptical, with a government environmental audit committee concluding that “at best, the [emissions] savings are likely to be relatively small”. Furthermore, the government is yet to take into account the impact HS2 will have on our landscape and countryside. Their plan to offset the resultant losses in biodiversity that will be caused by the destruction of...