The world is seeing an “eco-awakening”. Millions and millions of people are starting to realise that we all need to do something to help Nature from losing the rich variety of wildlife and vegetation that creates the beautiful planet on which we all depend.
That is the conclusion of a big new research report published this week by the WWF, the World Wide Fund for Nature – the big, global organisation which you might know from its famous logo of a giant panda. It’s good news, says WWF, because it means that instead of not caring or feeling helpless, huge numbers of people are changing the way they do things - and are demanding that governments make big changes, too.
The report shows how, over the past 5 years, many more people say that they are concerned about the problem – in India, for example, nearly 3 times as many people said it was important to do something about biodiversity. More people are searching online for information on biodiversity, more are talking about it in the news and on social media, and more people are shopping for products that are eco-friendly.
So, what can we do about saving biodiversity at home? WoW! reporter Fanny went to meet Gaby. She’s an expert in protecting biodiversity. And these are Gaby’s top tips:
If you want to help feed and house birds and insects in your local area, it’s a good start to plant flowers and shrubs that are also local. We may love to try food from other parts of the world, but your local wildlife are much happier with what they know!
That will depend on where you live, but it’s a good idea to look for things that grow easily have a mix of flowers and berries at different times. In Gaby’s garden in northern France, she likes dogwood and hawthorn that have flowers in spring and berries for food in the autumn, as well as ivy, whose black berries feed the birds in winter.
If you don’t have so much space and want to plant a window-box, Gaby recommends daisies, carnations, sage, yarrow and scabious.
Give them a home
You can make or buy all sorts of homes for your local wildlife and feeders for birds. We’ve talked before about building a “bug hotel” for insects out of bits of scrap wood. Gaby says you can even just find an old bit of tree and, with help from your parents, drill lots of holes in it that will make cosy homes for insects of many kinds.
She also likes to put out water for insects – a little dish with water in it and stones to help the little creatures perch while they drink. And if you just have a window-box, you can tie a bundle of twigs together and pop it somewhere dry. Bugs’ll love it!
But did you know you can also help our friends the hedgehog, and the bat? Well, you might say, I’m happy to be friends with the hedgehog. And you can help them make a home if you just leave out an old wooden box filled with dry leaves. But bats?
Well, Gaby says, bats are our friends in the garden too. Especially if you don’t like getting bitten by mosquitos and other bitey insects in the night. Gaby says that your average bat can gobble up 2,000 mosquitos a day! You can give them a bit of encouragement by putting up an old box for them to squeeze into and sleep.
Let it grow
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to have a garden with a bit of lawn, then don’t be fussy about mowing it short and pulling out the daisies.
Gaby says that letting the grass get long, and letting Nature take its course and make the lawn home to daisies and dandelions and buttercups and so on. Of course, your parents might have other ideas about what kind of lawn they want, so you’ll have to talk about it. Maybe you can make just a part of it into a wild garden for wildlife?
If you have your own tips to share with WoW! readers on how to have fun and have an impact on biodiversity in your area, or if you’d like to share pictures of what you’ve been up to in the garden, do drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org !