Moses Gate Country Park, Bolton, Sunday 23rd July 2023
Bolton Green Umbrella was formed in 2016 to bring together all of Bolton’s green groups, individuals and businesses in a network to further their mutual goals of protecting green spaces, encouraging wildlife, and improving the environment in and around Bolton.
To celebrate the group’s success a grand green festival was organised with different groups showcasing the work they do in the areas where they work at numerous sites around Bolton. Bolton Conservation Volunteers chose to highlight the work done at Moses Gate Country Park. Our bit of the festival would include pond dipping and a treasure hunt. People following the treasure hunt would have a map that showed the locations of 6 letters to collect to make the name of an animal when put together. The six letters were located at sites where we have planted trees, managed ponds, created reedbeds, managed wild flower meadows, and various other projects. The problem was nobody told the weather that we wanted sunshine, and what we got was rain.
The wet weather highlights one of the reasons BCV and Green Umbrella do what they do: climate change. One of the predicted results of increased global temperatures was indeed wetter UK summers, which is what we have while the rest of Europe is literally burning. The wider consequences of global warming go beyond ‘rain stopped play’ and include crop failures, flooding, famine, melting ice sheets and glaciers, sea level rise, loss of productive land, habitat loss, and species loss to give you the short version. For wildlife our new ‘normal’ affects hibernation, migration, species viability, water quality and oxygen saturation, and habitat stability. Wildlife is facing more competition for survival, both against other species and against humanity as habitats are lost through climate change and human expansion. As more land becomes uninhabitable human migration and movement is likely to increase, pressuring wildlife even more.
Global warming isn’t a hoax, it isn’t a conspiracy of scientists it is very real and we are seeing the results NOW. The use of fossil fuels is having a very significant impact on our planet. Anyone who still believes climate change isn’t a problem should read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2021 Summary for Policy Makers, at 40 pages this is the short version of the full report and still makes scary reading. The beginning of the report states:
“It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.”
“Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts,
and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since AR5″. AR5 was the IPCC’s 2013 report.
These are the reasons why Bolton Conservation Volunteers, Bolton Green Umbrella, and all of its member groups, do what they do. What we need is for everybody else to also take a stand, to do everything possible to reduce human impact on our local and global environments: drive less, fly less, be less wasteful, make do and mend, reduce-reuse-recycle, and be less selfish, sharing the world with all species.
But this article isn’t meant to be a thesis on climate change causes and consequences, so back to the festival day. Although we did have a green gazebo an actual green umbrella would have been very useful, but having said that many brave souls came out on the day to fight the BCV corner. As well as volunteers we had several families that liked taking walks in the rain and walked around our treasure hunt route to spell out BADGER and win a meat free hot dog.
Many thanks to Barb and Trev and Bolton Green Umbrella for co-ordinating the festival, Tom and Caroline for organising BCV’s bit, Lynn and Gill for looking after the food tent, the meet and greet team, Rick for pond dipping, and everyone who turned out to lend a hand or take part.