24 Oct 2009

Stroud 350 day: 350 trees, 350 beehouses and 350 numbers on people

Today October 24, is a global day of action around climate change, organized by the folks at 350.org. The site already has photos of many of the over 5,000 events. And as you'll see below today in Thistledown near Nailsworth I've been planting 350 trees with Woodcraft Folk and previously helping organise the making of 350 beehouses with various local groups. Also in Stroud Woodcraft are making 350 pictures. More on those in a mo but why 350?

Photos: all from Thistledown today

Well that’s the parts per million of carbon that scientists think is the ‘safe’ level that will keep the planet at least somewhat recognizable. What are we at currently? Something like 390, and climbing! So time is short. With a new round of global negotiations scheduled for Copenhagen in early December, today's actions will help build popular pressure on all those politicians to do something real.

We still have a chance to turn away from the disaster. We can still build a world that offers abundance, hope, lives of beauty and health and freedom for those who come after us. But the window of opportunity is closing. We must act.

Here is some of what the Western Daily Press quoted me saying earlier this week "Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. We've reached 386 parts per million and have to get back to 350. Copenhagen is a successor to the Kyoto protocol and has been widely seen by many scientists as the last chance for humanity to get to grips with soaring greenhouse gas emissions. We can do it, but we need to keep the pressure on politicians in the coming weeks. The 24th is all about actions we can take. Already on this day around the globe there are lots of projects like church bells ringing 350 times to 350 paellas cooking with solar energy. Near Stroud we are planting on that day 350 trees with children aged 6 plus from the local Woodcraft Folk group. We have also been building 350 bee houses with adults and children in Stroud."

Climate change is often framed as somehow our personal problem - like we should drive less, consume less, change our lightbulbs - and yes of course all those things are important. But nothing we do individually will solve the problem. We need to work together, to influence policy. We need to be clear about all the things we do want otherwise we just leave a trail of despair and apathy.

Planting 350 trees

Well first big thanks must go to Mel Trievner who got this project going but also to Helen Kay and many of the others like Stroud Valleys Project who loaned the shovels and more.

We arrived at Thistledown in the rain and started with a brief talk about the trees, how to plant and where the wood was going - of course being Woodies we also started with a song. It was then planting time

We all split up into smaller groups and I have to say I was totally impressed by the childrens dedication o digging and getting the plants in the ground - I think we had a selection of Rowan, Birch, Crab Apple, Ash, Field Maple, Hazel, Guelder Rose, Wayfaring tree and Dogwood. But maybe not all those - we did stop for some lunch and tea - very welcomed as some of the ground was pretty tough indeed. I can't quite believe we got them all in the ground and stacked and protected from rabbits!!

We will no doubt return to see how they are growing - what a great morning!

More about 350 beehouses

See more here plans for 350 Beehouses. See here how to make beehouses but also see photos of the many other designs made by different groups - see here Guideposts, here the workshops in town and here Elfins - plus here leafcutter bees in my house and here how Stroud is to become the first Bee Guardian town.

Here's what Jessie Jowers said of the day: "There are 20,000 different species of bees worldwide, and only 500 species are honey producing bees, many bee species are much better pollinators than the honeybee. They are all in decline and need protecting too. We rely on bees for two thirds of the food that we eat. A healthy diverse environment needs a diverse population of different bee species. Bees are responsible for the pollination of many of the plants that grow to absorb the CO2 from the atmosphere. We need to be aware of how our agricultural practices effecting bee and plant diversity, whilst also remaining as the largest contributor of CO2 into the atmosphere. The Global Bee Project and the people of Stroud have come together to make 350 bee houses for cavity nesting solitary bees. The houses will be placed around the town to protect, conserve and encourage a variety of vital bee species."

350 Picture share

I had hoped I might get along but the tree planting took longer - but see hopefully stuff on the blog for this here: http://livingonsunshine.blogspot.com/

Apparently the Woodcraft Venturers group have made a brilliant contribution to the 350 event in Stroud today. They painted numbers 1-350 on 350 people, explaining the concept to hundreds of people on the high street in a most articulate and convincing way, and not just the previously converted. The town was buzzing with interest about what they were doing despite the dreadful weather. They are also making a video of the 350 photos they have taken of each number to put on Issies blog - livingonsunshine.org.uk, and hopefully we will have an article in the SNJ, so look out for it.


mary beth jarrosak said...

I heard about 350 on NPR last night, how scary and sad. Let's hope we can all pull together and reverse the damage we have done. Thank you for this post, I will pass it on.

Phil said...

Almost 10 per cent of known species are threatened with extinction, according to the first comprehensive study of the world's wildlife.

Waters around the North Pole are absorbing carbon dioxide at such a rate that they will soon start dissolving the shells of living sea creatures. The potentially disastrous consequences for the food chain have been highlighted by Professor Jean-Pierre Gattuso of the National Centre for Scientific Research in France.

The White House has said for the first time that it does not expect to see a climate change bill this year, removing one of the key elements for reaching an international agreement to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Living standards in Britain and other rich countries must fall sharply over the next decade if the world is to avoid catastrophic global warming, according to a leading climate research centre.

The koala, Australia's star symbol, is dying of stress. The marsupial is found only along the coastal areas of eastern Australia where it feeds off the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. But, as more and more people move to the region, koalas are finding themselves with fewer trees, researchers say. The stress brings out a latent disease, called chlamydiosis, that infects 50 to 90 per cent of the population.