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To everything, (turn, turn, turn) there is a season. 

Well not so much any more. A quick look out of the window in recent days will tell you that our spring is all over the shop. T shirt weather one day. Minus temperatures at night the next. And a lot of rain.

We had daffs pushing up in December and snowdrops as early as January. Some fruit trees were already in blossom – but the frosts and high winds of the past weeks or so have destroyed that.

By and large we all just get on with it. We do a lot of talking about the weather of course we do – we’re Brits – it’s a national pastime. But when we praise the sunshine or moan about the cold, are we really paying attention? We should be.

Of course scientists have been warning us about the shifting seasons for years. And it’s convenient for us to ignore them, but at what price?

Climate change is causing UK plants to flower almost a month earlier, on average. While we might be cheered by early flowers and buds on trees, there are big risks. The knock-on effect of this trend will be that birds, insects and entire eco systems suffer. 

So what! some might say. Well, it’s going to be your fridge and food cupboards that notice it first, and maybe then we’ll start taking notice.  Ecological mismatch is the term use to describe species getting out of sync. If plants flower too early and get hit by frost, then this has an impact on future harvests.  If harvests are weak, then food prices will rise (even more than they already are!) and food shortages will follow.

Pollen, nectar, seeds and fruits of plants are important food resources for insects, birds and wildlife. If those sources are affected by the weather, that will impact not only on pollination (which is vital to food production!) but  also  lead to a decline of insects and wildlife too. 

Sobering thoughts. So what can we do? I often come back to the same point which is – that while we might not be able to do something specific to address  single issues of climate change, everything counts.  It’s too easy to pass the buck and say ‘I can’t do anything that will change the weather.’ That would be to fundamentally miss the point. Lifestyle change is needed, each of us needs to consider our consumption (of everything!) and challenge ourselves to live life with a lighter touch on the planet. It’s the only way our children and grandchildren stand a chance of a future.

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