With this weeks strike for climate we wanted to share our key learnings from Edens summer exhibition Earth Story for anyone who didn’t manage to see it over the summer holidays. An exhibition that looked to show us Earths astonishing past and precarious present with a hope to make us aware that the Earths future is ours to make, can we become the heroes of Earths story?
We first went into the dark exhibition space that highlighted how all life on earth is connected and how key biodiversity is for our survival and our fight against climate change. The Earth Story Journal tells us that ‘together plants, microbes and animals form an interconnected web and a life support system that provides us all with clean air, fresh water, fertile soil, delicious nutritious food, a stable climate and a phenomenal recycling system. The stronger the web the better the system.’
One example of how interconnected our systems are is the relationship between land and sea. We learnt how losing forests decreases biodiversity on land and in the oceans. Endangered tropical forests are threatened by deforestation for agriculture, timber, industry, infrastructure and mining, we’re currently loosing a football pitch sized area of Amazonian rainforest every minute. This matters because they’re home to half of the worlds plants and animals, they cool the climate by absorbing CO2 but they are also deeply connected to how the ocean absorbs CO2, as the rich nutrients from their soil wash into the oceans supporting Phytoplankton who absorb 50% of the CO2 in the atmosphere helping to cool the climate as well as produce 50% of the oxygen we breathe. With no tropical forests Photoplankton would be in trouble and so would we.
In the last 50 years biodiversity has plummeted and unfortunately that’s largely down to us. Within the exhibition space you found the Cabinet of Consequences where we discovered we need to protect all life, from the tiny plankton in the ocean to the giant trees in the forest. Like a giant web, if you take away a thread then the whole thing starts to unravel.
‘We study and save it to our great benefit. We ignore and degrade it to our great peril’ E.O. Wilson
Next up was the Cave of Lost Giants where you got to see an impressive skeleton of a mammoth. A very poignant message was displayed before the impressive structure:
On the opposite wall we learnt that one million species face extinction today, can we learn from the past and help protect todays biodiversity?
The next exhibition space called Countdown delved deeper into our current situation where in the last 50 years the human population has doubled and Earths biodiversity has plummeted with us currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction. In the space you were surrounded on all sides with videos showing extinct and endangered species, it made for extremely sad viewing. But luckily there are also great things happening too, with species being protected and reintroduced to the wild and taken off the endangered list, which helped you leave with some hope that we can turn this current situation around. We know that nature can restore itself, incredibly well if left alone and given the space to do so.
Which is where the Guardians of the Future come into the picture. Worldwide people and projects are taking action to protect biodiversity and fight climate change. These Guardians show us how policy, science and technology can make a difference. How each one of us, whatever our age or ability and wherever we live can make a difference and how together we can make the change to build a world we can all thrive in. Below is a list of links to some of these great projects, great for inspiration to create your own or to get involved in directly:
Last up was Wild Britain. A look closer to home, travelling through time starting 20,000 years ago when rhinoceroses, mammoths, bears, wolves and reindeer roamed across Britain. Britain has been through some big changes, especially within the past 200 years when we start to see the effects of the Industrial Age. Rapid human development and population growth transformed the landscape. With industry booming and a growth in agriculture Britain’s countryside became depleted, fragmented and fragile. Many species have disappeared from Britain in the last 200 years due to habitat loss, hunting, pollution, pesticides and invasive non-native species. With 75% of land being used for food production, human induced climate change is altering habitats and species are running out of time and space.
But nature can recover with more and more people and projects working to protect spaces and wildlife. Rewilding supports natural regeneration, reintroduction of species restores our native wildlife, captive breeding can give animals a helping hand and policies and conservation protect habitats. Thanks to these projects we’ve seen beavers, white-tailed eagles, the great bustard, common crane and many others reintroduced to Britain and otters, pine martins, red deer, boar and others are increasing in numbers.
There’s plenty we can do at home too to help biodiversity and help fight climate change:
Make a mini pond
Create a hedgehog highway with your neighbours
Leave a patch of grass to grow and see what happens
Make a worm bin for food waste
Put up a bird or bat box in a quiet, high up place
Use nature friendly products
Sow flowers for pollinators in gardens, pots or window boxes
Earth Story was a great exhibition, we found it a roller-coaster of emotions as we went round, both saddened by our current situation but also uplifted and energised by all the different projects going on around the world. We hope this run through of the exhibition has guided you through some key points on climate change and the need for biodiversity and its hopefully encouraged you to look into what you can do at home to act now and make the change for a better future together.
If you want further hints and tips on what you can do and to make a pledge head to the make the change page at Eden Project.
Don’t forget this Friday (20.09.19) is the Global Climate Strike and there are strikes happening in Truro and Penzance. If you are still looking for further information on the current climate crisis instead of striking maybe head to the Eden Project instead who have a whole day of talks and films set up with entry to the site free.