Originally posted on :
July 4th, 2014 by Robin Priestley
Wonderful news, we’ve protected our bees! Yesterday Syngenta withdrew their controversial application to allow their banned bee-killer pesticides back on UK fields.
Owen Paterson, the environment minister, sided with Syngenta. But the decision was deemed so toxic that it was brought all the way up to the Prime Minister and his cabinet to discuss.
The day before the big meeting, the huge people-powered petition signed by over 200,000 of us was delivered to the PM’s desk.  And on the morning of the meeting, hundreds of us swarmed on Downing St to confront the ministers as they arrived. 
Dressed as bee-keepers, bees and pesticides, and with a host of other campaign organisations we chanted at the top of our voices and left the ministers in no doubt that we expected them to put our bees before Syngenta’s profits. Alongside 38 Degrees members, a…
View original 233 more words
Elephant in the River by Radka Kirby, part of Wildlife Artist of The Year exhibition.
The David Shepherd Foundation’s Wildlife Artist of the Year opens at Mall Galleries on Tuesday, 3 June.
Shortlisted works will be available to view and buy at the galleries from 3-7 June, exhibited alongside work by David Shepherd and selected guest artists. All sales go towards raising funds and awareness for endangered wildlife.
The David Shepherd Foundation works on a small number of carefully selected wildlife projects in Africa. See last year’s winning artworks here.
A national survey to assess the population of one of the UK’s rarest birds, the chough, is being launched by conservationists.
The study aims to give a picture of how the birds are faring across the UK after years of decline. In Scotland, choughs are only found in a small area of the south-west, with 90% concentrated on Islay, where numbers have struggled.
A team of surveyors has now begun work to chart the fortunes of the “acrobatic” birds, known for their striking red bill and legs and flamboyant flying style.
Researchers are particularly concerned about the survival rates of young birds in their first year. It is thought that variations in weather and food abundance could be having an impact on the survival rates. Information gathered will help target conservation efforts for the recovery of the species in areas where it is in decline.
The survey is a joint initiative between RSPB, SNH and the Scottish Chough Study Group, which has been monitoring the birds on Islay since the early 1980s.
Pic: Dom Greves / RSPB
The RSPB is asking people to spend a night in their back garden or their local nature reserve to raise money and help save our wildlife.
The charity is also organising sleepout events across the UK for those who don’t have a garden or who want a wilder time in some inspiring locations. There will be special night time activities around the camp fire and a night time stroll, where you’ll be introduced to some special night creatures, including moths, nightjars, bats and twinkling glow worms (pictured above).
The Big Wild Sleepout runs from 16-22 June and is part of the RSPB’s new Giving Nature a Home campaign, which is aimed at inspiring everyone to provide a place for wildlife wherever they live and however big their outside space is.
Participants can spend a night in their garden, or at an organised sleepout event, discovering a whole world of wildlife on their doorstep. They can also help the RSPB to give nature a home by getting their sleepouts sponsored by friends and family, and firing up a barbecue, hosting a party and handing around the donation box.
A still from The Last Catch. Pic: UK Green Film Festival
The UK Green Film Festival 2014 celebrates seven powerful environmental films that will tour the country from 1-8 June.
This year’s line-up includes international award-winning films, and explores some of today’s big environmental issues. The films will be screened in 17 venues in 15 cities across the UK, including Clapham, Greenwich and Hackney Picturehouses.
Seven feature length documentaries – including several UK premieres – from all over the world will be presented at the festival, all of which will be preceded by an accompanying short film. These include:
- The Last Catch. A study of the tuna industry’s impact on both the fish and those who catch them.
- Lost Rivers. An exploration of the subterranean network of rivers beneath London, Montreal, Toronto and Brescia that house the secrets of each city’s past.
- A River Changes Course. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Sundance 2013, chronicles the influence of rapid urbanisation on three families in Cambodia.
“Our aim is simple,” said the festival’s co-founder, John Long. “We want to help people understand their impact on the environment, and what they can do to reduce it. Film has the power to do that; to provoke thought, to inspire, and to entertain. That’s what the UK Green Film Festival is all about.”
London Tree Week starts today and the main focus is the Rooting for Trees exhibition in City Hall’s cafe.
This exhibition highlights why trees matter to Londoners. Photographer Emma Phillips worked with The Tree Council to produce images of Tree Wardens at various locations where they feel most strongly connected with trees. Each portrait offers a story about the importance of one, or many, trees. It also explores what motivates different people to plant, care for and help with the conservation of trees in their neighbourhood.
There will also be a series of free guided tree walks and other nature trails in various parts of town. You can take a tree walk around Abney Park Cemetery on 25 May, Upminster (25 May), Hyde Park (26 May), Kensington Gardens (27 May), Imperial War Museum gardens (29 May), Sydenham Hill Wood (29 May), Bankside Urban Forest (30 May), Bloomsbury (31 May) and the National Gallery’s arboreal paintings.
The week is being organised as part of the Mayor’s RE:LEAF work to protect and increase the number of trees in London.