Update on 29 April 2023:The Green Match Fund 2023 was a great success, and £4,349,330 was raised for 178 charities in 7 days. There were 22,457 donations to make this happen! Congratulations to all the charities involved!
Here's the background here:
Here’s a chance to make a donation for wildlife which gets DOUBLED!
From the 20th April at midday for one week, you can donate to an environmental charity taking part and your donation will be matched!
This is a great chance to really make your £ stretch to make a difference!
Back in 1971 on 2 February, the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar which sits on the shores of the Caspian Sea
Today, the 2nd February is a really important day for people and wildlife, because it’s a chance to highlight how important wetlands are to us all. They are where land meets sea. The 2nd February is World Wetlands Day.
Where are wetlands?
Wetlands cover areas such as shores, estuaries, mudflats, floodplains, coastal marshes, local ponds, the bog and pond in your garden, mangrove swamps, seagrass beds, and rivers. They cover a very small of the earth’s surface – and yet they are one of the most important habitats on our planet.
"If rainforests are the lungs of the planet, then wetlands are the lifeblood. As much as we need air to breathe, we need water to live. The conservation of our wetlands is essential to all life on earth.” WWT
Why wetlands matter to people:
They provide us with drinking water
They store a third of the world’s carbon emissions
Sundarbans National Park (India) is formed of tidal rivers, creeks and canals and supports species such as the single largest population of tiger, and aquatic mammals such as the Irrawaddy and Ganges River dolphins, all under threat.
So what’s happening to wetlands in our changing world?
A recent global IPBES assessment identified wetlands as the most threatened ecosystem. This impacts 40% of the world’s plant and animal species that live or breed in wetlands.
The official website of World Wetlands Day says "we need to revive and restore degraded wetlands".
35% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared in the last 50 years
Our wetlands are threatened by:
So what can we all do to help wetland conservation?
WWT can create new wetlands in a few months and years – so your support can really make a difference quickly. But there’s something we can all do to help and you’ll find more links and further resources further down.
Find out why they matter to people and wildlife.
See what you can do at home to help wildlife. Create a (mini) pond in your garden, local area or school - WWT or the RSPB can show you how
Visit a wetland close to you if there is one, and spend time there. Use your senses while you visit. Listen to the sounds you can hear; look at the sights, smell the scents. Connect with them.
Find out which of your local conservation charities are working to protect and restore wetlands. How can you get involved and support them? Many of them will be working on projects which you may be able to get involved with. This could be by volunteering, donating, buying something from their online shop, becoming a member, spreading the word about them - there are lots of ways to help.
#WetlandBiodiversityMatters to see what’s happening
World Wetland Network – a collection of NGOs and Civil Society Groups all working for wetland conservation
Wetland Link International – a support network for wetland education centres which deliver engagement activities on site. The WWT in the UK lead it; it has 350 members over 6 continents!
RAMSAR – The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
World Wetlands Day – held every year on 2 February to raise awareness of the importance of wetlands and how we can all help
Hot on the news that the Greeks have created the world’s first dolphin sanctuary, two Beluga Whales from an aquarium in Shanghai have just arrived in Iceland 6,000 miles away to go to a whale sanctuary there.
The whales – Little Grey & Little White – are 12 years old. They’ve been in captivity since they were about 2 years old and performed in font of crowds as “entertainment”.
The British Firm that runs the aquarium – Merlin Entertainment – bought the Changfeng Ocean World Zoo in 2012. And it started to look for a home for Little Grey & Little White.
Head of the British Conservation Charity, Sea Life Trust, explained that preparations have been on-going for about 18 months to prepare the whales for their journey.
They travelled by plane on a Cargolux freighter to Iceland, then, truck and a ferry from the mainland to the island where they will live. Teams monoitored the whales to ensure they were safe and comfortable during the flight. A Cargolux engineer and a team of global veterinary experts with experience in transporting marine mammals were also on board to check on the whales’ welfare.
Their new home is the world’s first open water Beluga sanctuary – it will provide a more natural sub-Arctic environment for them, with wilder habitat. The bay will be protected to protect the two female whites as it is thought they won’t survive on their own in the wild. The Sanctuary is in a natural and beautiful sea inlet, in Klettsvik Bay. There’s a landside care facility, and a visitor centre minutes away – so you can visit!
The sanctuary was created in partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation. It’s run by the SEA LIFE Trust with a donation from Merlin Entertainments.
Scientists are going to study Little Grey & Little White to see how they adapt to their new natural home. And depending on how they get on, the sanctuary could become home to other Belugas as well.
So here's the update: May 2022
Little White and Little Gray are released into an open sea sanctuary, where they can adapt and explore. They will then be released further into the open sea - and monitored to ensure they can live in peace.
Care2.com have a petition about an enormous oil refinery on St Croix in the US Virgin Islands.
It has laid dormant for nearly years – it was forced to shut down after committing dangerous environmental breaches.
Donald Trump re-opened it in his last weeks of office - his full plan went into effect on 4 February 2021.
Three days later, Care2.com say the sky rained oil.
A vapour cloud released by the refinery went up into the air, glided to the community of Clifton Hill which is nearby, filled homes, gardens and toys – and then it burst, a mixture of petroleum and water covering cars, toys, and more with oil.
This was over two months ago.
Residents say the oil is still stuck to food sources such as avocado and fruit. It cannot be washed out.
Tristan da Cunha is a remote island chain in the South Pacific. It’s 2,400 kilometres from the nearest land!
And Birdlife International report that Tristan da Cunha has been declared a Marine Protection Zone, one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries and a pristine wildlife haven.
The MPA is nearly three times the size of the UK. MILLIONS of seabirds, fish and mammals Penguins and seals, threatened sharks and whales will all benefit. 25 seabird species breed here, four of which are unique to the islands and which are also globally threatened. It includes the World Heritage Site of Gough Island which is a renowned albatross stronghold, and, it could be argued, one of the most important seabird islands in the world
The MPA has been established thanks to international collaboration between governments, NGOs and local islanders. The whole thing was instigated by the Tristan de Cunha government and the RSPB.
The Tristan islanders themselves led the way however, as nature guardians in the Atlantic Ocean. They have already declared protected status for over half their territory, and they know that the sea is critical for their long term survival. They are proud to play a key role in protecting the health of the oceans.
Recently, a study found that banned fishing in 5% or more of the ocean would increase global catches by 20% plus in future. And of course this newly protected MPA ties into the wider global goal to secure protection of 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 to tackle climate change and the biodiversity crisis.