Rewilding Britain has unveiled its biggest nature success stories of 2022 – and there are some great ones.
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We’ve written about this one before – it’s the bison! Reintroduced to the UK after becoming extinct in the country thousands of years ago, these beautiful beasts will be working wonders for our environment.
Climate change education comes in all shapes and forms, whether it be on a TikTok doom scroll or in a college classroom.
But now, places like Camas High School, in a semi-rural region of Washington State, have been working on making climate education more interactive and interesting hopefully inspiring kids along the way.
The creative education manifested as a role play where students became farming activists attending a G7 summit while their teacher Ali Coker wove in facts about food insecurity.
The end goal of the project was to educate the students on food justice and the impacts of climate change on agriculture in the state of Washington.
The project was part of a teaching development program called ClimeTime which helps Washington teachers add climate change and environmental justice literature into their lesson plans.
With an annual investment of over $7 million, Washington became the first state in the US to explicitly put money toward K-12 climate change education, and that investment has largely been a great success.
Of the nearly 1,000 educators who participated in programming during the 2021-22 school year, 98 percent agreed or strongly agreed that it prepared them with the necessary skills to try something new or different in their professional practice.
The program links Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and climate science and brings it to the classroom.
“A lot of the information that’s available now didn’t exist five years ago, 10 years ago,” says Ellen Ebert, Washington’s director of secondary content. “So how is the teacher supposed to keep up with all of the information? When we present it this way, they develop their own toolboxes — and then that’s what they bring back to their colleagues in their schools.”
Harrods is making a move towards a greener future by launching a recycling programme for their makeup line.
Sounds interesting! Tell me more.
The scheme will be piloted for 3 months, beginning on Saturday 14th January. For now, the pilot scheme is only being conducted at one in-person store – H Beauty in Milton Keynes.
So, how does it work?
MYGroup, the company Harrods is partnering with for this scheme, have placed recycling bins by the counters where customers can deposit their used cosmetics with the help of H Beauty staff.
By recycling their used cosmetics, customers can get a whole host of rewards from benefits to experiences – both online and in-store.
What can we recycle?
Customers are being encouraged to return used beauty, fragrance and skincare products to the store for recycling. They are even able to return products that are usually considered hazardous or unsuitable for recycling like nail polish and perfume bottles.
“Doing nothing at all would feel so much worse,” says Sam Evans. “I couldn’t just completely ignore the fact, or pretend that the situation didn’t exist. I’m not someone that can choose what I see, and what I don’t see if I know that the situation exists.”
Sam is a 38-year-old English teacher from Burrow-on-Furness in Cumbria. Today, he works as a teacher and lives in China where he has opened his arms, and sometimes his home, to stray animals.
Stray cats and dogs are a common sight in China, which has a prolific, but not particularly humane, animal trading business. Cats and dogs are sold in markets, bred on farms in poor conditions, and often escape or are abandoned on the streets.
For Sam, who moved to Suzhou, China from a small port town in England, it wasn’t the language or the food or the culture that was the biggest adjustment, but the ambivalence of the locals towards stray animals.
Within a week of moving to his new home in Suzhou, China, Sam found a kitten who had become trapped behind one of the University buildings. When he realised that people were ignoring the kitten’s cries and walking by, he took it upon himself to rescue the creature – and so it all began.
It wasn’t long after that, that one of his American colleagues, who also has a soft heart when it comes to stray animals, told him about a puppy that she had rescued who was in need of a home – and Sam was unable to say no.
“So then I [had the dog] and I took the kitten home as well after she was all sorted out and healthy,” explains Sam. “I thought, ‘I’ve made a real difference’. And then there’s literally, like, thousands of animals that were in the same situation just in this one city.”
Though Sam wishes he could help all the animals individually, and bring them home, it simply isn’t feasible.
“That was within the first week,” says Sam, of the kitten and puppy that began his rescuing adventure. “And if I carried on at that rate, you know, I’d be living in a zoo now.”
Sam now tries to help the animals he rescues get adopted out into loving homes, like the kitten he found who now has a new family. Sam has taken home three dogs himself; Larry, the original puppy found by his colleague, Jackie and Charlie, who has sadly passed away.
“Every week or so there’s going to be some other animal that you’ve come across, and you realise you just can’t rescue all of them,” explains Sam. “So you kind of get used to making judgments like, alright, this animal is more needy than this one. All right, this animal really seems in pain, I definitely need to help it out.”
Sam now strives to take care of the animals who need it most – those who are injured or sick, or young females who should be spayed, he will take to see the vet. Though he runs fundraisers to help cover the costs of saving these animals, much comes out of his own pocket.
“I don’t feel resentful of people who are honest with themselves, and try to understand what the situation is,” says Sam. “But then decide that they’re not in a position to be able to help because they don’t have the time or they don’t have the money, or [it’s] too heavy emotionally.
“You kind of understand why people just can’t do anything. Because if you’re the one person who does something who takes an action, who picks the dog up, then you become responsible, financially responsible.”
Sam isn’t the only one working tirelessly to protect these animals and curb their numbers, there are others who help out including his neighbour who feeds 30 stray cats morning and night. Sam has also connected with a shelter nearby and he and some other volunteers take regular coach trips out to find and help strays.
“In terms of the overall numbers, it’s like a drop in the ocean,” admits Sam. “But for the lives of those individual animals … it makes all the difference for those one or two or three animals that I can help. So yeah, it’s exhausting. And it’s expensive. But it would be a lot worse to do nothing.”
Newport Beach is a small coastal city in southern California with a population just short of 85,000. It’s known for its sizeable boat-filled harbor and two piers the Newport Beach Pier and Balboa Pier. The town is also home to a former oil field along its coastal bluffs.
That oil field has just recently been purchased by a non-profit called Trust for Public Land to clean up the area and turn it into a state park.
The region, called Banning Ranch, is considered one of the last open swathes of coastal real estate in southern California and was eyed by developers for years. But conservationists and Indigenous leaders fought to keep the region free from development.
The land has been an active oil field since the 1940s but oil operations have officially stopped with the recent purchase and conservationists will get to work cleaning up the land.
“It’s surreal after years of trials and tribulations that today a nearly 400-acre property is now in public hands,” Guillermo Rodriguez, the Trust for Public Land’s state director said. “This is a tremendous opportunity to increase habitat restoration and wildlife restoration in an urban setting.”
The Trust for Public Land ended up accumulating $97 million in public and private money to purchase the land with a $50-million donation from longtime Orange County residents Frank and Joan Randall.
“For more than two decades the property has been in total and utter disrepair,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine), who helped secure state funding for the purchase. “And I think we’re on the precipice of turning it into a jewel not just for Orange County, but for all of Southern California.”