Today, the 10th of the 10th, 2010, saw a global movement of volunteers doing their bit to help the world. In 188 countries across the world, 7347 events took place to send a political message to governments; “if we can get to work, you can get to work too”.
Locally, Kent Wildlife Trust held an event at Hothfield Heathlands Nature Reserve; the site of Kent’s last surviving acid bog. A small group of volunteers got together to help clear willow trees from the bog. The willow trees take up the water from the bog, drying it out. Removing the trees allows the bog to remain intact. Bogs are made of peat, formed by thousands of years of storing vegetation underwater. As well as being a great place for wildlife, they are also a natural store for carbon. After 6 hours of hard labour, the volunteers had cleared all the willows from the bog. Tom Rawlings, 26, said the day was “great fun. The water came up over my wellies several times, but it was just part of the job. Everyone had a really good time. Thanks must go to Ian Rickards for organising it and also making us lunch!” - baked potatoes and hot dogs all cooked on a bonfire!
The removed willow will be taken to other nature reserves around the country and used to make chairs and living sculptures. Hothfield Heathlands covers 83 hectares, from heathland to lowland valley bogs. It is jointly owned to Ashford Borough Council and Kent Wildlife Trust. It was common land until the early 20th Century, and grazing maintained the nature of the site. With more commercialised farming, the grazing ceased and the reserve became overrun with bracken and birch trees. This led to a loss in heathland and bog habitiats and the consequential loss of rare plants and animals. Work has since begun to return it to its original state and it is now grazed by Highland Cattle and Konik Ponies. Events took place all over the world, from the United States to the Philippines and from Iraq to Ecuador. In Auckland they had a big bike fix it day in order to get all the bikes in the city back on the road and in the Maldives they put solar panels on the President’s office.
The aim of the ‘Global Work Party’ is to send a message to those in power; “Since we've already worked hard to call, email, petition, and protest to get politicians to move, and they haven't moved fast enough, now it's time to show that we really do have the tools we need to get serious about the climate crisis.” said Bill McKibben, the organiser of 350.org. “The goal of the day is not to solve the climate crisis one project at a time, but to send a pointed political message: if we can get to work, you can get to work too - on the legislation and the treaties that will make all our work easier in the long run.” Last year there were 5200 events in 181 countries. 350.org is the organisation behind the events of today. It is so called, because Scientists believe that it is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We are currently at 388ppm (parts per million). Last year there were 5200 events in 181 countries. 10 10 10 in binary code is the number 42. This, according to ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ is the meaning of life. Coincidence? I think not...