Thursday, 25 February 2016

Trees in the Environment - Govt Response to Petition


The Government has responded to the petition you signed – “Make planting trees a priority to reduce flooding by improving soil and drainage”.
Government responded:
Trees can slow the flow of water down and reduce the impacts of floods; we are currently exploring the increased role that this could play in flood risk management.
Every part of our natural environment from our coasts, to our great landscapes, and clean air to productive soils, is a vital part of the success of our country; nature doesn’t exist in silos. By managing the environment in an integrated way we will gain key environmental, economic and social benefits. We are working on a 25 Year Environment Plan which will set out how we will deliver the best natural environment anywhere by making more integrated decisions, using catchments and landscapes as the building blocks rather than single species or features. This makes sense because we will deliver the most effective and efficient environmental improvements if we work with the natural systems that underpin the health of our environment.
We will structure our work around river catchments and landscapes that make up the environment. For the first time, we will have a plan and budget for each area rather than several organisations operating with different plans. We are going to be integrating these plans with the 25-year Plan. As part of this we will be starting four catchment pathfinder projects later this year— in a catchment, marine, and urban setting as well as one in a large rural landscape.
We also need to value our environmental assets for the full range of benefits they provide and incorporate this into the decisions we make. Using natural capital principles can help all of us to do this better, equipping us with a robust and consistent evidence base that can inform practical action on the ground. Data and technology are powerful tools to drive environmental understanding and improvement and Defra has committed to releasing 8,000 data sets by June 2016 to help spur this innovation and development. The tools being designed will give a consistent framework to empower local people to take decisions nationally and locally. For example, natural capital accounting will help calculate where woodland planting would provide the greatest benefits for plants and animals, recreation and reduced flood risk alongside the economic gains for forestry and farming.
Defra continues to support a number of leading research and demonstration projects to better understand the role that land management changes in our landscapes and catchments, such as tree planting, peatland restoration and habitat creation, could have in reducing flood risk. These include the Forest Research led ‘Slowing the Flow Partnership’ in Pickering, North Yorkshire, the National Trust led project at Holnicote Estate in North Somerset and the Making Space for Water’s project on the Upper Derwent catchment in Derbyshire.
These projects indicate that woodlands can slow the flow of water through smaller catchments and reduce the impacts of some floods. We will continue to support such investigations, gathering further evidence into the potential benefits that land management changes, such as tree planting in catchments, could have on reducing flood risk, in addition to the wider environmental and economic benefits that they could provide.
We are also supporting ongoing Forestry Commission research into the role that woodlands could play in reducing flood risk. The England Woodland Grant Scheme has already targeted 1,857 hectares of planting to help reduce flood risk and diffuse pollution in England. We have also designed the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in the new Rural Development Programme to help achieve multi-objectives including flooding and water management.
After the recent storms, it is also important to look at what happened and to learn lessons. That is why we have commissioned an in-depth review. This will give us a chance to look at our defences and ways of modelling to explore new ways of tackling floods in the future. This includes upstream land management options for slowing the flow to reduce the intensity of flood peak and build stronger links between local residents, community groups and flood defence planning.
The framework setting out the key themes for the 25-year environment plan will be published in spring 2016 and we’ll be working with a range of interested parties over 2016 to develop the full plan.
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Jungle Destruction in Indonesia: Greenpeace Newsflash

 Hi Timothy,

The greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century happened last September. Yet this disaster will happen all over again in just a few months - unless we take action now.

Six months ago enormous forest fires tore across Indonesia - they reduced vibrant, living tropical rainforest and peatland to smoking ash. The fires spewed out more CO2 than the UK does in a year, made hundreds of thousands of people sick, and destroyed precious orangutan habitat.

Please sign the petition telling companies like PesiCo, Johnson & Johnson & Colgate Palmolive to stop the fires

The fires were no natural disaster. Over several decades, huge areas of Indonesian forest have been slashed and burned, and watery peatland has been drained for palm oil and paper plantations. That destruction is the root cause of the forest fires.

But we can stop this happening. Last year over 250,000 of us told the Indonesian president to stop letting companies destroy forests and peatlands. It worked - the president brought in ambitious new plans to protect Indonesian peatland. But now the big brands need to play ball. Please sign the petition:
https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/forest-fires
These companies like to talk loudly about their 'no deforestation' policies. But despite promises and pledges, deforestation in Indonesia is actually getting worse. Empty promises aren’t working, because they’re not enforced on the ground. These brands have to give us real commitments, real timelines and real action against their suppliers who destroy forests and peatlands.

A forest fire in Indonesia may seem thousands of miles away, but the everyday products that cause this suffering are in our cupboards and on our bathroom shelves. Palm oil is in everything from cosmetics and shampoo to chocolate bars and breakfast cereals. It’s hard to avoid, and sustainable alternatives are so incredibly limited. The only answer is to change the entire industry. I hope I can count on you to be a part of protecting these last precious forests:

Thanks for all that you do,

Victoria & the forests team




... Meanwhile in the Amazon, crude oil spills into rivers with devastating ecological consequences. What are we doing to our world?

https://forcechange.com/153250/help-indigenous-communities-suffering-from-oil-spills/?utm_source=ForceChange+Newsletter&utm_campaign=31946bbbdb-619FC3_2_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_600a6911b9-31946bbbdb-285354077

Target: Germán Velásquez Salazar, PetroPeru General Manager and Chairman
Goal: Pay for oil spill cleanup and compensate all local communities affected by the toxic environmental disaster.
There have been two oil pipeline spills in the Amazon since late January of this year. At least 3,000 barrels of petroleum were spilled into the river in Peru. While Brazil contains the largest part of the Amazon, Peru has the second largest section, now covered in black, thick crude oil sludge. The local community has been forced to come together to try and remove the oil from the river and soil.
These 250 locals that have no choice but to scoop up buckets of crude oil from the river, knowing that their labor-intensive task is nearly impossible and that it shouldn’t be their responsibility to clean up. The government says that Petroperu, the oil company responsible for the spill, will be sanctioned. Still, will it be enough?
Environmental scientists say that the damage to the environment will be long term. It is also alleged that Petroperu hired children to clean up the spill. Last year Petroperu was responsible for another massive oil spill for which it also hired children to clean for $28 dollars and without protective gear.
It’s not just the plants and animals that are suffering. At least eight indigenous communities use the two contaminated rivers for water. Peru’s government has had to declare a water quality emergency in various areas around the oil spill.  Demand that Petroperu, which is responsible for the spill, pay for all the cleanup efforts and compensate suffering and at-risk local communities.
PETITION LETTER:
Dear Chairman Salazar,
Have you seen the photos of the 250 locals attempting to clean 3,000 barrels of crude oil from the rivers? These locals and their respective indigenous communities are fighting to save the environment that provides them with their principle source of water and food. They are forced to attempt to clean out the black sludge from their once thriving river.
These locals are faced with the arduous and slow task of filling buckets with the crude oil in an attempt to make the thick, black river clean again. On their own, the plants and animals of the region will never recover. With cleanup efforts, that Petroperu should be responsible for, the area may begin to recover in several years.
The government has declared a water quality emergency in five areas near the oil spill. It is reported that the spill is also contaminating the cacao trees downstream. The locals have no water and soon they will also have their livelihoods ruined.
It is PetroPeru’s responsibility to provide clean water and all necessary assistance to those affected by the spill. I demand that Petroperu pay for all the cleanup efforts and compensate suffering and at-risk local communities for the damages to their contaminated crops and soil.
Sincerely,

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