Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

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Fifteen million trees were torn down by the Great Storm of 1987, and in our panic to restore England’s landscape in the aftermath, we succeeded only in creating more chaos. Twenty years on, nature has proved it can heal itself without the help of mankind. So what lessons can we learn from our land’s innate wisdom?

Lesson one.

The important thing to remember is that order in nature is not the same as order in the human mind, which has an exaggerated respect for tidiness.

“If you want a woodland in Britain,” says Peter Creasey, “you don’t have to plant trees. You just have to sit back and wait.” The great mistake, typical of people in crisis, is to think that something has to be done. Across the raw skin of southern England in 1987, there was a rush to salve the wounds. In many cases it was the worst kind of first aid, making the patient worse rather than better.

“Most of the planting that was done,” says Peter Creasey, “has been overwhelmed by trees just seeding themselves naturally.” It is this process of force majeure that has brought the change of policy — in effect, a willing surrender to a needless enemy. Instead of nurturing the planted beeches, says Creasey, “we decided to let natural succession take place. It happens in a natural sequence. First you get pioneer trees like birch and, to a certain extent, ash. The birch will last for about 60-odd years and then will be overtopped by the longer-lived trees like oak and beech. Eventually you get a natural broad-leaved mixed woodland, but it does take time and patience.”

Lesson two.

In nature there is no such thing as waste. Life likes nothing better than death. “Some experts reckon,” says Creasey, “that if you want an ecologically healthy woodland, then 50-60% of the timber should be dead or dying.”

This is not as morbid as it sounds. “An oak, for instance, will take 200 years to reach anything like maturity. Then it will sit for 1,200 years being mature; then it will spend another 200 or 300 years slowly dying. Its time-scale is very different to ours.”

You see the evidence wherever old hulks have been left. Woodpeckers feed on insect larvae in the dead timber; bats roost in it; stag beetles breed and joust like their mammalian namesakes; dormice — fastidiously intolerant of anything short of ecological perfection — move in with fixed, erotic intent.

Read more.

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Not all environment solutions involve modern technology or new ideas. Grass roofs on houses in Norway are one such case. Translated literally, torvtak is “turf roof.” For hundreds of years turf roofs have been popular in Norway.

No two turf roofs are the same. Some are bright green and almost velvety. Others are golden and look like they’re growing wheat or oats. A number of turf roofs have flowers mixed in with the grass, and a few have small trees.

The advantages of turf roofs are many. They are very heavy, so they help to stabilize the house; they provide good insulation; and they are long-lasting. Special skills and materials are required to prepare the roof for the turf topping.

Turf roofs in Norway are a tradition and you will see them everywhere. This is not some new architectural trend in London or New York!

Here is a link to some photos of the more recent, trendy green roofs.

Meanwhile, in the UK the government would like to see more people go for grass roofs and suggest such a move could cut their tax bill. More here.

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The first grand is always the sweetest! Especially celebrating it here in Norway. 🙂

Think I’ll offset the flight with another donation to the BBC’s Planet Earth tiger appeal.

Don’t trust those offset options!


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WRAP works in partnership to encourage and enable businesses and consumers to be more efficient in their use of materials and recycle more things more often. This helps to minimise landfill, reduce carbon emissions and improve our environment.

Check out the links below;

Working with Consumers

Recycling in the Garden

Working with Schools


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Low artificial input desert greening, with rainwater harvesting and mulching produces magic results that even the locals can’t at first believe. There are solutions to desert greening without using huge amounts of artificial fertilisers, plastic poly tunnels and wasting precious water.

Watch this if you’re interested in how we can feed the starving, particularly in desert regions like the middle east and the Sahara.

Thanks to Willem for this.

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In my youth I grew up under the nuclear spell of the cold war. Today’s youth have climate change to think about. Both are very weighty issues because they involve the survival of large parts of the human species. Climate change is however different from that of the nuclear cold war because it is happening whereas the nuclear war obviously never happened.

It’s today’s youth that have the best chance to make the necessary societal changes finally happen because they are growing up with the issues, the understanding, the education.

Here’s another website helping them along;

youthinformation.com , the information toolkit for young people.

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