A 2020 Climate story

Meteorological phenomena we are witnessing aren’t entirely due to climate change, but climate change is accentuating them. It’s been 60 years since Spain hasn’t witness such strong impact from a weather event, as when the Atlantic storm Gloria reached its shores, eventually covering all its territory between 19 and 22nd of January 2020.

Four days after storm passed, I took the below pictures into Mediterranean sea resort of Estartit. Badly located neighborhoods were basically underwater…complete human error, by allowing their constructions in the first place…

Girona‘s province largest river, Ter, has normally a small delta, but that grew to considerable size during the storm days, bringing mud into the blue waters of the sea, and all left-overs of the upstream civilization…Even the natural parc around Isles Medes, an underwater paradise, was also reached by the muddy waters!

As expected, aside from material damages and human victims, there were also wildlife victims, caught unaware by the rage of waters! Sweet water fish pushed into salty water, drown wild bores and birds and insects…

The entire beach around river Tar delta was covered by left-overs of an invasive plant, the American-cane, which in fact reached Spain from Asia, and which is now suffocating other local plants, and it is cut (without much success) by local population, along rivers and wet lands, but which eventually reaches the sea.

Natural beach is lost under sea waters every year, except for few places where ground is still hold by vegetation, unfortunately these places are now rare (see the 2 photos below)…Such vegetation would protect the beach and its ecosystem, if there was only wisdom to allow their free service…

In the aftermath of the storm, local populations gathered by hundreds to clean the beach, I was one of the volunteers. I was surprised to see that number one plastic item in the sea are the ears cleaning cotton sticks, I could have collected entire bags of them!…In any case, first wave of people did a great job cleaning all the plastic, rubber and other materials from the entire beach, in just few hours…

After plastics were collected, also on the touristic side of the beach, the wood and the cane were collected, to be removed at later stage by local authorities. The beach around the delta is probably still not cleaned, would take much more human power to clean such a large territory were you were stepping on wood only, not on sand anymore…

One thing is for sure, we will witness more such events in future, in more places of the globe. Hope you learn from it, once you see its impact with your own eyes, and not through TV or smartphone screen, and will contribute either pro-actively to stop climate change (some tips on the ECO page of this blog), and/or by volunteering retroactively to help your community, the ecosystem clean-up or wildlife rescue.

Planting trees is good for wildlife and environment

Dedicating few hours and calories on a weekend, you can greatly help environment through an activity that is available to anyone interested: planting trees! Initiated by WWF Barcelona, one of the activities I joined had the purpose to “reclaim” (on behalf of nature) a riverbed (from humans habits and invasive species, apparently), as apart from planting local species of trees, we also had to participate in the removal of an invasive species of plant, called American cane (although it arrived here from Asia), which grows so tall and can take over full territories out-growing the smaller local plants, and also to collect the ubiquitous plastic waste, left by barbecue lovers in the area.

activityactivity 2me with WWF Bcn

Especially in proximity of cities, these places are equivalents of oasis in the desert for many species of birds and insects, used as shelter, resting and feeding grounds, and even as home for this handsome pheasant!

fazanriverbedcane

Either you are planting trees in your own garden, or in a friend’s garden, or in public spaces, it does help nature and wildlife! You may never be able to replace a pristine forest, or be as efficient as nature is (when not disturbed by human activity), but people can be a true force as well, if each of us contributes, considering the large population today, number do counts, especially closer to urban areas! Don’t hesitate, join a larger group if you have to, there are plenty organizations willing to accept your volunteering! I am sure you will enjoy, as I did!

group photo

Power of example

There is nothing more pleasant than a walk in the country side, on a sunny autumn day! Very fast you come to accept the slower pace of life – meaning the normal pace of life, the one that exists outside office and city life but you are not very familiar with lately – and you come to terms with nature, which gets along its way regardless. This time of year, trees and wildlife prepare for the colder season, already the lower temperature at night and shorter days have turned the leaves yellow or red, just before falling on the ground and turning into rich black soil, from which fresh life will flourish next spring, resuming relentlessly the cycle of life! The sheep are coming down from the mountains to lower winter grounds, a nice spectacle to watch, still unfolding in many corners of the world, whereas some wildlife species have their underground borrows ready, storing latest provisions from the rich autumn menu – forest fruits, acorn, nuts, herbs etc, in preparation for hibernation!

clean path 3sheepclean path 2

yellow treeburrowred tree

However one thing disturbed the picture and my peace of mind, the plastics left behind by the ubiquitous consumer. But I did come prepared, as this is not something new I come across in nature, so I rolled my sleeves, dived in, and almost filled the two large bags I brought with me, leaving behind a clean trail, and making sure I showed my capture to all the passer-by, existing consumer and maybe, future environmentalists! Power of example, you find it in any specialty books, and doesn’t apply to office activities only, nature can also benefit, if you are willing to contribute!

garbage

Ideally this plastic can now be recycled, but at least it wont turn into micro-plastic to be swollen by births or fish, once it reaches rivers and eventually seas and oceans!

At the end of the day, I was very happy I could turn a favor to the Nature, after spending such a wonderful day outdoor, so I not only relaxed, but also came back home with a great sense of satisfaction! Try it sometimes, you will understand what I mean! 😉