By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 20th October 2017
Which of these would you name as the world’s most pressing environmental issue? Climate breakdown, air pollution, water loss, plastic waste or urban expansion? My answer is none of the above. Almost incredibly, I believe that climate breakdown takes third place, behind two issues that receive only a fraction of the attention.
This is not to downgrade the danger presented by global heating – on the contrary, it presents an existential threat. It is simply that I have come to realise that two other issues have such huge and immediate impacts that they push even this great predicament into third place.
One is industrial fishing, which, all over the blue planet, is now causing systemic ecological collapse. The other is the erasure of non-human life from the land by farming. ……..
Polli:Nation is a UK wide initiative supporting pupils from 260 schools to turn their school grounds and other local walk-to spaces into pollinator friendly habitats. To do this schools are encouraged to:
- Survey their patch using the new OPAL Polli:Nation survey (available May 2016)
- Make improvements for pollinators on their patch
- See how well it has worked using the OPAL survey to see the impact the improvements have had.
This cross-curricula secondary and primary school project will give pupils direct hands-on experiences; from creating vertical green walls and night-blooming flower beds to lobbying to change school maintenance regimes and debating pesticide use. Pupils will learn about the role pollinating insects play in eco system services and be able to contextualise this in the choices and actions they take.
Alongside creating a network of knowledgeable and enthused young activists, the ambition of this programme is to utilise school grounds to form local green corridors and ‘stepping stones’, enabling species to move between core areas thereby contributing to the overall aim of the project by increasing numbers and sightings of pollinating insects in the UK.