Cathy's Blog: Hope & Optimism

Something chimed for me listening to Sir David Attenborough on BBC radio this week. When introducing Blue Planet II – it starts this weekend – he was asked about changes in the 16 years since the first Blue Plant (I paraphrase): “Apart from better technology helping us record even more interesting footage of marine animal behaviours, I’ve seen more pollution in the oceans ... We can’t do something about all things, but we can do something about what we tip into the sea… We can’t give up hope, we have to keep at it! I have to be an optimist and a realist rather than be a pessimist.”

There is hope, and thanks to many different people steps are being taken. Proctor & Gamble and TerraCycle are producing a 100% recycled plastic bottle for its washing up liquid, 10% of which is ocean plastics. The plastic litter collected on the Suffolk coast by the Great British Beach Clean last month goes to TerraCycle, so take pride that we are part of that hope.

On our recent beach walk at Thorpeness with GeoSuffolk I was not particularly looking for beach litter, but it was heartening not to see too much. We did find Coralline Crag, as we should do because this is the only stretch of the coast in the UK that has it! Once it has fallen from our soft cliffs the four million year old crag just looks like a lump of sandy coloured ‘concrete’ with shells in. These shells are in fact fossils, usually bryozoan or mollusc debris. The more I learn about our ‘outstanding landscape’ the more I appreciate that the work the AONB Partnership and landowners do is vital for conservation. And perhaps our grants play a part in hopefulness too? The Suffolk Secrets AONB Fund is now open for applications, to support communities to conserve the area too.

Another project of hopeful conservation is the creation of tree nurseries at Hollesley and Holbrook this month, specifically growing not just UK native but local provenance trees from local genetic stock. My deliberate overuse of ‘local’ is to emphasise that even better that planting trees is planting native trees, because these local broadleaved trees are more adapted to our climate.

First written for the EADT 28 October 2017

By Cathy Smith on November 29th, 2017

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