Environmental news update, including climate change, extreme weather, tree planting (where, what and how) and smart energy on the Scillies.

Climate change and extreme weather

Scientist have confirmed that there is increasing likelihood of extreme weather events, including heatwaves, floods, hurricanes and tropical storms, with research showing a clear link between climate change and human activity.

The BBC has an interesting article on the hottest years on record, in the UK (taking an average across the whole year, 10 hottest years have all taken place since 2002)

And the Independent looks at the likelihood of extreme weather events.

And this year, a cold blast is predicted for January and February 2020, with warnings of snow and ice.

For those working in the charity sector, it is necessary to think ahead and make plans for an increasing occurrence of events such as heatwaves and floods, affecting both the organisations, and the people with whom we work.

Health-benefits and environmental friendliness

Meanwhile, GPs have been asked to do their bit to reduce the environmental impact of climate change, which the World Health Organisation calls one of the greatest threats to human health this century. All this advice is beneficial to health, but has a positive environmental benefit too.

Suggestions include:

  • Encouraging patients to walk or cycle
  • Encouraging patients to reduce their meat consumption
  • Encouraging patients to use local schemes, such as Cornwall Winter Wellbeing (0800 954 1956)
  • Using social prescribing, especially pointing people towards environmental and ‘green’ projects
  • Encouraging patients to recycle inhalers (and reducing the number of inhalers prescribed which use CFCs as propellant)
  • Taking steps personally and in their GP practices, to reduce their carbon footprint.

Smart energy solutions development on the Scillies

The Isles of Scilly’s Smart Islands Programme is delivering smart solutions to energy, waste, water and sewerage services on the Isles of Scilly. The first aim of a set of interconnected projects is to deliver more efficient use of locally-produced energy on the islands, increasing energy from renewables on the islands to 40%, reduce electricity bills by 40% and replace 40% of vehicles with low carbon or electric alternatives by 2025.

You can find out more on the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme’s website, and Smart Islands.

It is hoped that additional renewable energy generation and innovative ways to manage water and waste will follow in 2020.


Tree planting

Planting tress is one of the things that can be done relatively easily to help combat climate change. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommends 30,000 hectares of woodland should be planted annually in the UK, more than double the new trees planted last year.

The BBC has an article about why this is, and also a very helpful article about how members of the public can get involved.

It covers ‘where can I plant trees’, which are the best trees to plant, how to find a local official tree-planting scheme, and where to get more information.