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CLIMATE Change and NATUREHanna SwanepoelGarden snails make the best races - all held on a protective white and wet plate - racing from one rose petal to the next - fun to watch them move and be in awe of their creation. But, like humans, snails always need water to survive. Recently the UK and Europe were hit by a severe heat wave, resulting in enormous water and drought challenges, which have a global effect.
Some plants become toxic under certain stressful conditions. Johnsongrass (in the USA) are harmful to livestock, producing cyanide and wild cherry trees, Sudan grass, milo, and sorghum-Sudan grass. What are the challenges? The UK is the world's fifth largest economy and plays a significant role in the global economy, with businesses, finance and culture all contributing substantially to the UK's economy. So, what does climate change have to do with the UK? The UK is enduring its hottest summer on record. Temperatures are 10 degrees above average, and we've been hit with 15 days of a heatwave, with more on the way. The heatwave is wreaking havoc with agriculture, damaging crops and melting solid ice, forcing farmers to drain lakes.
The drought is impacting wildlife too. Thousands of species are now struggling to survive, from birds to mammals to reptiles. And environmentalists believe climate change could be to blame. Experts say the heatwave is compromising the food chain, leaving animals unable to survive.
With heatwaves across the UK, France, and Spain with temperatures above 40 degrees, it was dubbed by the British authorities as a "national emergency."
Recently in West Yorkshire, UK, an ancient village appeared when the heatwave dried out the reservoir. In some cases, the water level dropped by 50%, calling for a hosepipe ban, the first in 27 years.
This village dates back to the Middle Ages and Brittan’s Viking occupation. In Spain, an entire Roman camp built around 75 AD and abandoned around 120 AD became visible after submerging in a river for a long time when a reservoir was built in 1948.
Across Europe, mostly by the falling water levels, a trove of treasures and ruins was discovered. The 'hunger stones' were stones that previous generations would put at the rivers' waterline to indicate when a famine would be. And WW2 shipwrecks were revealed in the Danube River, with explosives intact. How can we fix it? The UK has an effective second National Adaptation Programme and a 25-year Environment plan to put in effect to reduce the impact of climate change, minimize waste, and cut greenhouse gasses. By attempting to restore 75% of land and freshwater-protected sites and those outside the protected areas, marine biodiversity will be restored and reversed where damage has been done. Care will be taken to recover endangered or threatened wildlife, fungi, and plants and ensure sustainable seafloor habitats and ecosystems.
Various conservation and key authorities like Sir David Attenborough, the Environment Agency, and Natural England advocate for the impact of nutrients, conservation, and building or development on protected sites.
Climate change is already impacting the UK and is set to cause more extreme weather conditions in the future. The UK is a small island and is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which include more frequent and more intense floods, droughts, and an increasing number of heatwaves. Though the government is taking measures to mitigate the effects of climate change, more needs to be done.