World Wildlife Foundation's Earth Hour
Friday, February 4, 2011
World Wildlife Foundation's Earth Hour is the world’s largest display of hope for a bright future and Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT) are urging the residents of Fife to join them and switch off their lights for one hour on the 26th March between 8:30pm and 9:30pm.
By switching off lights for just one hour we are helping to reduce the production of carbon emissions and are lessening the rate of global warming and biodiversity loss. In short, carbon emissions affect climate which affects biodiversity.
Biodiversity and climate are inextricably linked. Climate determines the distribution of a species either directly (e.g. a plant which cannot survive frost will not grow where there are cold winters) or indirectly (e.g. an animal will only be found where its prey/food is found, which may be determined by climate). The most obvious example of the effect of climate change on biodiversity is the actual loss of entire habitats e.g. the Arctic, where global warming is causing the sea ice to melt. Indirect effects include rising sea temperatures which adversely affect sandeel populations which in turn have resulted in dramatic declines in seabird populations, because they cannot find enough food for themselves and their young.
Climate change also affects the timing of biological behaviour. For instance animals that hibernate, such as hedgehogs, are breaking their hibernation earlier due warmer temperatures and what appear to be earlier springs, but are then very much at risk when cold spells follow and their sources of food are not yet available.
Furthermore, species might be adversely affected by rapid climate change because they cannot adapt quickly enough. One hypothesis for the decline of capercaillie is that they have not been able to adapt to earlier springs. Plants such as blaeberry are coming into leaf earlier, which means the caterpillars that feed on the leaves are also about earlier, however capercaillie chicks continue to hatch at the same time of year, only to find that one of their most important food sources is no longer available. Whole food chains can be disrupted in this way.
Biodiversity Officer Johanna Willi stated “FCCT's aim is to 'manage, conserve and enhance the biodiversity and countryside of Fife', therefore we must also help reduce carbon emissions and advocate global reductions in order to meet our local goal”.
She also went onto say “Furthermore, because there are no borders or boundaries when it comes to carbon emissions, reducing emissions must be a global effort”.
If you would like further information on how you can participate visit the official website at www.earthhour.org or contact the Trust on 01592 656080.