Climate change has never been more at the forefront of conversation, than it has been over the past twelve months. With COP 26 allowing an international platform for discussions on what urgent actions need to be taken globally, and nationwide initiatives to support tree planting such as The ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’, and the Great British Spring Clean, organised by Keep Britain Tidy, there really are plenty of opportunities for us all to get involved with helping to ‘turn the tide’ on climate change, including right here in Bognor Regis.
The Town Council declared themselves a Council of ‘Climate Emergency’ in 2019, leading to the formation of the Climate Emergency Focus Group, who work on a variety of projects including rewilding, encouraging sustainable lifestyles, and implementing more ‘bee-friendly’ planting. The group consists of Town and District Councillors, interested stakeholders, and members of the community, and reports to the Town Council’s Community, Engagement and Environment Committee. Local website bognor. today is a great way to stay up to date with the Focus Group’s initiatives and to gain access to the latest climate news and projects, affecting the Bognor Regis area.
Being a coastal town, a lot of focus, rightly so, is on the impact of climate change on the biodiversity of the sea and marine habitat. Projects such as the ‘Sussex Kelp Restoration Project’ and the Bognor Fishermen’s Association, who are looking to bring back sustainable fishing to Bognor Regis, are just some of the efforts going on right now, at such a pivotal moment in the recovery of our seas after years of litter, pollution, and a decline in sea habitats.
Although the issue of climate change seems overwhelming when we look at tackling the issue as a whole, there is plenty we can do as individuals, specifically in our gardens, which will make a big difference. The RHS website contains plenty of tips and advice for make better and ‘greener’ use of our gardens:
· Greening up your garden – Plants more trees, bushes and shrubs, all of which help remove carbo dioxide (a big contributor to climate change). from the atmosphere
· Plant a diverse range of plants in your garden – Planting a variety of plants will help with resilience, ensuring at least some plants will survive in diverse weather. Effort should be made to planting of differing pollinator friendly plants
· Adopt new ways of growing – Share any petrol-powered tools needed and reduce use of these where possible. Green roofs and walls can cool your home in the summer and insulate it in the winter, saving on energy bills too!
· Be water-wise – Use water butts where possible, which not only help with reducing the pressure on drains during flooding, but they also help conserve water during droughts. Avoid using hoses in the summer months
· Avoid peat-based products - Peatlands store huge amounts of carbon, making them a real disaster for trying to combat climate change. Harvesting the peat to use for composts also destroys the biodiversity of the land it’s harvested on. Plenty of good quality peat-free compost is available, at all good nurseries.
· Compost your garden and kitchen waste – homemade compost improves the structure of your compost as well as providing healthier soil. Healthy soil also captures carbon and the less materials thrown away, the less that will end up in landfill, emitting huge amounts of green house gases!
· Reduce- reuse-recycle-reinvest
· Go organic – Avoid use of chemicals in the garden. If necessary, choose products with a lower carbon footprint, such as organic ones
· Beware invaders – Never bring plants home from trips abroad, and only shop for plants at reputably suppliers, to avoid brining new pests and diseases into our local gardeners.
Bognor Regis in Bloom, a Working Group of the Town Council, works to actively encourage positive gardening habits. For this year’s Annual Gardening Competition, the Group will be taking into account some of the RHS ‘top tips’ for sustainable and environmentally friendly gardening, in their judging criteria.
Recently holding a ‘Climate Change and Biodiversity’ information Open Day, the Working Group provided visitors with plenty of useful tips and handouts on ‘going green’ in the garden. Sussex Wildlife Trust, Brick Kiln Garden Centre and Bognor Regis’ Tree Warden were just some of the experts at the Open Day, answering questions and making presentations.
The Working Group also partakes in the ‘Great British Spring Clean’, organised by Keep Britain Tidy, this year working in conjunction with Sussex Wildlife Trust, to record the items collected from their beach clean.
Bognor Regis is very proud to have two Tree Wardens, who work hard to not only plant and maintain trees in the Town, but who also want to help educate ‘Bognorians’ on the benefits of trees in the battle against Climate change and air pollution.
If you are from a local school and would like to book a FREE talk from one of our Tree Wardens, or help with planting trees on your school grounds or you would like more information on Bognor Regis in Bloom and how to join, then please contact the In Bloom & Allotment Committee Clerk, Steve Davis: email@example.com