The Wonder Of Microforests

This month, The Climate Change Collective are focusing on greening up areas of land with trees. It is widely known that large areas of forest are being cut down and burned every week. So it makes sense that one of our environmental initiatives should be planting trees at every opportunity.

A few weeks ago Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader) took part in the planting of a microforest in her beloved Waterloo region of Canada. I was really intrigued about this and thankfully she shared her experience in the latest lead post for the Climate Change Collective:

Small But Wonderful Changes

The idea of transforming a small area of land into a forest, with a range of local flora and fauna, is really cool. There are so many benefits, not only to the environment but also to local communities.

– It increases biodiverisity and has a localised cooling impact

– There will be more photosynthesis which means more recycling of carbon dioxide

– a microfest can provide an additional retreat for local people – a community-made natural gem

Reclaiming land for nature always makes sense. If by doing so we are creating new reserves for families to explore, then even better. Pockets of green within towns and cities can make a massive difference to local microclimates.

As a result of this post, I have asked my boss for a way of reclaiming part of our school field for a microforest.

Final Thoughts

Each month one of our wonderful bloggers creates a lead article about something related to climate change. Michelle originally set up The Climate Change Collective after discussing with me a need for a group of bloggers who expressed concern for global warming and made practical suggestions for change.

All of us in the group write our own posts linked to each monthly lead article. Our group is growing and welcoming, so please drop me a tweet if you are a blogger interested in joining.

Microforests are a great way to create biodiverse local woodlands and help to re-green our increasingly urbanised regions. Please check out Michelle’s article and let us know what you think in the comments.

You can also check out the last post that I wrote about climate change, Warmer Weather – What’s not to like? and the August lead post A Greener World – Debunking myths about climate change by Molly – Transatlantic Notes.

Thank you so much for taking time to read this blog post. Perhaps also considering following my blog for similar future content.

A Boat Trip In Switzerland

On my second full day in Switzerland I decided to take a train from Basel into Biel/Bienne. As soon as I arrived I walked straight to the lakeside and caught a boat around the beautiful lake. If you missed my introduction to Basel, check out Basel – A Hidden Gem and then find out about the stunning boat trip I took around Bielsee in this post.

Swiss trains are reliable and timely. They are clean and have plenty of leg room.
This was the boat that hopped from village to village in a round trip.

Taking a train from Basel to Biel/ Bienne was simple to arrange. I booked my ticket through Trainline and enjoyed travelling through the villages, farmland and hills. Just over an hour, the ride was packed with gorgeous views.

I had seen Biel/ Bienne on Instagram and knew that one of its biggest assets was the huge lake. So it was inevitable that I was going to head to the harbour immediately and try to get on a boat. A two and a half hour trip round the lake cost £34.86 per person.

Such thick cut bread on a delicious cheese sandwich.

During the cruise, I decided to get a sandwich and ice cream. With a lovely on board eatery and plenty of deck seating, the boat was comfortable and provided great access to photogenic villages and a stunning horizon.

This church was so quaint, sat beautifully upon the hill at the side of the lake.

Best Bits

For me, this two hours and a half voyage went by quickly. I loved the experience and absorbed the beauty of the surroundings. There was a friendly atmosphere on board and everyone was sober and helpful.

I totally recommend taking a trip round the Bielsee if you are in the area. This was the only day I spent out of Basel and I finished it with a walk around the town of Biel/ Bienne which I have photographed here.

Biel/ Bienne
Biel/ Bienne

Final Thoughts

This lovely Swiss town is thriving with shops and restaurants as well as some beautiful historic buildings. You definitely need to take a ride on a boat if you get the chance and explore the beautiful lake that runs alongside Biel/ Bienne.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article about a boat trip across a Swiss lake. Please consider following my blog for similar future content. Also leave a comment if you can. Have you been to Switzerland? Does Biel/ Bienne appeal to you?

Why Recent Snow Isn’t Enough

Regular readers of my blog will know that I adore snowfall. They will also know how much I worry about global warming and the lack of cold weather in the northern hemisphere. With seasons changing and boiling hot extended summers, there is plenty to worry about. The recent snow in the UK is disruptive but simply isn’t enough.

What’s it all about?

A lot of people are upset that we had a few days of snow this week. It was the only bout of snow this winter in East Anglia and we had nothing more than a sprinkling last year. This random snow event is far from the regular coverings we used to get in England. In fact, the future of ice and snow is under threat, as my poem A World Without Ice illustrates.

Ski resorts in Scotland and the Swiss Alps have been missing out on their annual income due to a milder winter. This is becoming a trend which is having implications for wildlife and humans. With suggestions that the Arctic Circle is heating up seven times faster than everywhere else, I am rightly worried.

Some Interesting Facts

I was born in the late 1970s, when a really heavy snow blizzard smothered most of Britain. According to The Weather Outlook 1977 saw snowfall of 20-25cm every day for several days during one snow event.

In the Svalbard islands, north-west of Norway, the average winter temperatures were -13 to -16 degrees C in the 1960s. They are now between -9 to -12 degrees C, which is significantly cosier. This is according to the article – Svalbard With Greatest Changes In Winter Climate.

Another article expresses the concern that is mentioned in lots of environmental blog posts. suggests that Polar Bears are waiting for a month longer than previously for the ice to return for winter. This means they are losing weight (potentially 2kg a day during this period).

Why is lack of Snow important?

If we lose our cold winters and our climate continues to warm rapidly, we face major difficulties. Loss of habitat will remove apex predators from ecosystems. This has massive ramifications for delicate ecosystems.

Snow and ice are white. This means they reflect a lot of sunlight and help to maintain cooler temperatures. Melting ice means less reflective surfaces which lead to a further increase in rising temperatures. In effect, melting speeds up climate change and the effect it has in other areas.

Permafrost is also important in all of this. Canada and Greenland are examples of places which have permanent frozen landscapes. Layers of ice, called Permafrost (permanent frost) are associated with Inuit communities and have now become threatened by climate change.

When this ice is depleted it allows carbon to become exposed which will leak back into the atmosphere as CO2 and add to the layer of gases insulating our planet. It is that particular zone of particles which traps warmer air in our atmosphere, thus exacerbating the perils of global warming.

In A Nutshell

In my view, we really have reached a turning point. A point at which destructive things are starting to accelerate. The general lack of snow is a sign of this. Along with longer hot summers and widening of uninhabitable land through a process known as desertification.

So yes, we are having a late winter snow event in the UK. But it doesn’t mean climate change is not happening. It simply illustrates that weather patterns are becoming more difficult to predict. We are experiencing far less snow than in previous decades and it should worry all of us.

David Attenborough famously said,“Real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and in our politics.” (source – Newsround Jan 2020)

It is our turn to get this thing on the back foot. We have the power to influence change, politically and personally.

I will leave that there as a point for thought.

It would be wonderful to hear your thoughts on the matter in the comments. Please also consider following my blog for more environmental articles and TV/ book reviews.