Newsletter April 2012
Friends of the Earth has just launched its new campaign. Bees and other pollinating insects are vital to:
· our food supply – they pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables
· our economy - without bees, the costs for farmers would rise, leading to higher food prices
· our quality of life – our gardens, parks and countryside
And bees need us. British bee numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years, and the way we farm our food and plan our towns and cities is making the problem worse.
FoE is asking David Cameron to help save bees by introducing a National Bees Action Plan. Visit www.foe.co.uk to sign the petition. If you’re quick you may get some free bee-friendly wildflower seeds!
What’s killing the bees?
A recently published study from the Harvard School of Public Health links imidacloprid, a widely used neonicotinoid pesticide, with worldwide decline in honeybee colonies. The pesticide is thought to contribute to colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon in which bees desert their hives en masse.
Bees can be exposed to the
pesticide through nectar in plants or through high-fructose corn syrup which is
used by beekeepers to feed their bees. Most corn produced in the
This research backs up European investigations that point to the involvement of neonicotinoid pesticides in the disappearance of a large number of bees. These pesticides affect the bees’ central nervous systems, impairing their communication, homing and foraging ability, flight activity, ability to discriminate by smell, learning and immune systems, all of which have an impact of bees’ ability to survive.
Neonicotinoids have been banned
or suspended in
Bees are the prime pollinators of about a third of the
crop species in the
World Science newsletter www.world-science.net
The Soil Association www.soilassociation.org , where you
can download a briefing The evidence that neonicotinoids are implicated in
colony collapse disorder in honey bees and should be banned in the
Are we losing touch with nature?
Are we becoming disassociated from nature? Does it matter? If so, why? And what can be done about it? Next month we’re holding a public meeting on this issue, with Matthew Frith of the London Wildlife Trust as speaker. More details to follow.
Meanwhile, a report just published by the National Trust makes very interesting reading. Natural Childhood outlines a clear need to tackle what has been termed “Nature deficit disorder” in children. Years of research and a large number of surveys indicate that many of today’s children have little contact with, or understanding of, the natural world around them.
The physical effects of a largely sedentary, indoor lifestyle are easily identified, obesity being perhaps the most widely publicised, but there are strong indications that mental, behavioural and social problems are also linked to a lack of engagement with nature.
Going to a nature reserve, taking part in adult-led, structured activities is a start, but children need more if they are to develop a personal connection with the natural world. It has become so rare now to see children playing on their own outdoors that it is sometimes assumed that they must be up to no good!
There is wide recognition of the benefits to children of contact with nature, but there are many barriers to overcome, the fear of risk being perhaps the hardest to break down. And yet it is vital that children learn to recognise and deal with risk.
How can children be given the opportunity to experience and learn from nature? In connection with the report, the Trust is launching a consultation, asking for suggestions from individuals and institutions. To find out more, go to:
London Wildlife Trust is objecting to a new development proposal affecting this reserve. There are plans to build a large 8-storey development close by. The Trust is concerned that this will have a significantly detrimental impact on the reserve, threatening wildlife and also ruining the peaceful atmosphere. It considers that the height, length and proximity of the development to the reserve boundary mean that the building will loom over the Triangle, creating a feeling of intrusion. Furthermore, it is feared that such a large development will create noise and light pollution. You can read LWT’s objection on their website: www.wildlondon.org.uk
Ealing FoE has submitted a brief objection along the above lines to the Planning Department.
Big Garden Birdwatch 2012
This year’s results have now been published. In Greater London the species seen most was the starling, followed by house sparrow, blue tit, wood pigeon, feral pigeon, blackbird, great tit, robin, magpie, goldfinch, collared dove, carrion crow, ring necked parakeet, chaffinch, dunnock, long tailed tit, greenfinch, coal tit, common gull, wren. How many of these visit your garden regularly?
The Greater London
top twenty is almost identical (though in different order) to the overall
For full results see http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/
Join local naturalist John Wells on one of his natural history events – free unless otherwise indicated
Sunday 13 May: A tour
of the trees in
Public Transport: Bus E3 or Underground (District & Piccadilly Lines) to Acton Town Station then 10 minutes walk.
Note: Bring a x10 lens (if available)
Saturday 19 May: A tour of the trees (and other wildlife) on Hounslow Heath
Meet at the car park opposite The Hussar pub,
Public Transport: Buses 116, 117, 235 & 237. Note: Bring a x10 lens & binoculars if available.
On behalf of Hounslow Council Countryside Rangers. Cost £4.00 adults, £2 children
Sunday 20 May: A tour of the trees in Walpole & Lammas Parks
“Teething problems” will probably be put forward as
the reason for the annoyances experienced by Ealing residents since the new
waste and recycling collection contractors,
The Council has apologised for this situation,
acknowledging that it is ”unacceptable”.
They say that they are working closely with
It does seem that some at least of the problems have been caused by the number of rounds having been cut, leaving the collection teams with more to do. It is no wonder that collections are late, hurried and incomplete!
Have a look at www.ealingtoday.co.uk for more about the debacle!
Ealing Transition Events
Ealing Transition invites you to these upcoming events, to be held at St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s Road, Ealing W5
Sunday 22 April at 7.30 pm: Film “The Crisis of Civilisation”. Free, but donations requested
This is a powerful critique of a failed global system in which ecological disaster, financial meltdown, dwindling oil reserves, terrorism and food shortages are converging symptoms of a single failed global system.
Weaving together archival film footage and animations, film-maker Dean Puckett, animator Luca Benney and international security analyst Dr Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed – author of “A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It” – offer a stunning wake-up call, proving that “another world” is not only possible but is on its way.
Wednesday 25 April at 7.00 – 8.30 pm: Energy – Food and wine evening
Are you confused by the latest government policy on solar energy? Is it still worth generating out own energy? What do the changes to the government’s feed-in tariffs mean? What is the Green Deal? Are solar panels getting cheaper?
Ealing Transition has invited Joju Solar http://www/jojusolar.co.uk to host a relaxed evening of presentations and discussions, with plenty of time for questions. Joju are also very kindly providing food and wine for attendees.
just some of the places you can visit
Bollo Lane, Chiswick W4 5LW
Entrance opposite Chiswick Park Underground station.
Sheltered birch and willow woodland with pond, marsh and meadow
Reserve open all times. Visitor Centre open most days in summer (closed Mondays), 2 days a week in winter.
For further information on this and other London Wildlife Trust reserves visit www.wildlondon.org.uk
Perivale Wood Local Nature Reserve
Sunley Gardens, Perivale, UB6 7PE
A 27-acre of ancient oak woodland, owned and managed by the Selborne Society. Entrance restricted to members of the Society (cost £4.00 p.a.) but non-members are welcome at the regular field meetings and conservation management sessions, and the Open Day on Sunday 29 April is a great opportunity to find out more.
See http://www.perivalewood.purplecloud.net/ or call 020 8840 3250 for further details
Minet Country Park
Springfield Road, Hayes, Middlesex UB4 0LL
This 70-acre park, managed by Hillingdon Council in partnership with A Rocha Living Waterways, is home to numerous species of wild plants, insects, birds and other creatures.
Forthcoming events include:
Moth Night with Butterfly Conservation and A Rocha UK
20 April, 8.30 – 11pm
Come and see the amazing variety of moths that can be found at Minet Country Park.
No need to book, just turn up at the Lodge Visitor Centre at the Springfield Road entrance at 8.30pm
For details of further events at Minet Country Park, see http://www.arocha.org/gb-en/action/projects/livingwaterways/1572-DSY.html
At Osterley Park, Jersey Road, Isleworth TW7 4RB, the wardens offer various walks, for which there is usually a charge. There are Tree walks on 15 April and 14 October (booking advisable) and Bluebell walks on 29 April and 6 May (booking essential). Call 020 8232 5050
However, no booking is needed for the Bird walks 10.00am – 12.00 noon on 22 and 29 April; meet at the Lakeside Kiosk by the car park.
See www.nationaltrust.org.uk/osterley-park/ for further information
Richmond Park is London’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve
For information on the Park’s wildlife and an interactive map go to http://www.royalparks.gov.uk/Richmond-Park.aspx
You can join the Friends of Richmond Park on one of their free walks:
Saturday 14 April, 6.00am – 7.30 am: Dawn Bird Chorus. Meet at Sheen Gate
Saturday 5 May, 10.00am – 11.30 am: Meet at Broomfield Hill car park
Monday 7 May, 10.00am – 11.30am: Spring Bird Walk. Meet at Pembroke Lodge car park
For further information on these walks call Peter Burrows-Smith on 020 8392 9888
For short courses, consisting of a talk followed by a walk, there is a charge of £6.00, which includes membership of the Friends of Richmond Park.
Saturday 12 May, 10.00am – 12.00 noon: Ecology of Richmond Park
Booking essential. Call Sue Gibbons on 020 8549 8975
At the London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes SW13 9WT you can see numerous wildfowl and other birds, as well as reptiles, insects, amphibians and maybe bats and water voles. There are regular guided walks, bird feeding sessions and weekend family activities. Entrance fees apply. See www.wwt.org.uk for more information
Ealing FoE events
Wednesday 18 April: Monthly meeting – see page 1
Saturday 21 April: Stall at St George’s Day celebrations in Brentford Market Place (with Hounslow and Brentford FoE)
Tuesday 24 April: Ealing Green Drinks from 8pm at the Kings Arms, 55 The Grove, Ealing W5 5DX
Sunday 29 April: Stall at Perivale Wood Open Day, 10 am – 4.30 pm
Wednesday 16 May: Monthly meeting, subject tba
Monday 28 May: Public meeting on Disassociation from Nature: details to follow