Bleddyn Lake, from Friends of the Earth Wales has won the annual Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) ‘Outstanding Leadership’ award which seeks to recognise an individual who has provided outstanding leadership to their organisation or community in pursuit of change.
Bleddyn started working on Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign a few years ago and quickly had success in persuading the Welsh Government to draw up a new Action Plan for Pollinators. As part of this he sits on a Pollinator Taskforce group which was set up to look at all aspects of pollinator health and welfare in Wales.
Bleddyn devised the ‘Bee Friendly’ scheme as a way to engage schools, communities, universities, councils and other public bodies in Wales in a fun way to help protect bees and other pollinators in Wales. To gain Bee Friendly status, all a group has to do is to complete a set of actions to help pollinators from 4 different categories: food, habitat, community involvement and pesticides.
Once accreditation has been granted, the organisation can officially call itself ‘Bee Friendly’ and a network of regionally based volunteer ‘Bee Champions’ has been set up around Wales to help groups get started.
This scheme is the first such national pollinator accreditation scheme of its kind anywhere and is already attracting plenty of interest with many towns, schools and universities already working towards their Bee Friendly status. Some schemes have buzzed in to action very quickly and have already secured their accreditation with Hay on Wye Primary School becoming the first Bee Friendly school in Wales and Swansea becoming the first Bee Friendly University. Conwy Council has led the way amongst Local Authorities and the race is on to become the first Bee Friendly town and city.
“Bee Friendly” is a new initiative aimed at communities and community organisations, schools, public bodies, town and community councils, businesses, universities and colleges, places of worship…….. and many other organisations, all around Wales.
We think it is the first co-ordinated national scheme of its kind and has at its heart – making Wales a Pollinator- Friendly country.
Although the scheme is called Bee Friendly, we want people to take action to help all our pollinators, and not just bees.
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.