Sunday, September 15, 2013

Victoria's Green Matters - 12th Sept 2013

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: Our coast is at the forefront of a changing climate and key wildlife species are particularly at risk from global warming. The UK’s coastal areas are being transformed by sea level rise and fiercer storms, a study by the National Trust has found.

Coastal erosion is accelerating, something that we have seen happening to our White Cliffs and sea levels are going to rise by up to half a metre by the turn of the century. Quite a scary prospect for those of us who live by the coast and even worse if you should live on the cliff top.

Many species have found that the changing climate is making life particularly challenging. Puffin chicks’ preferred diet consists of sand eels but these are disappearing due partly to over fishing and partly to changing ocean temperatures. A new fish has moved in to replace the sand eels – the snake pipefish. Unfortunately, the puffins are unable to digest these fish because they are bony and hard to eat. Another problem for the puffins, whose colonies can be found on the Farne Islands and Lundy Island, is that their burrows were flooded in the very wet summer last year and in the exceptionally cold winter that followed, many died of starvation.

This is just one example of what climate change is doing to our wildlife. Some species, of course, will enjoy the new climate and thrive but we are likely to lose more species than we gain.

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