20 May 2005
Image: Chris Gomersall
The 1990s was the warmest decade on record. Temperatures will continue to rise over the coming decades.
If human society takes dramatic action to curb climate change, we can stop the worst environmental damage. But even with strong action, we are bound to feel the effects of the climate pollution we’ve already created.
Under a ‘best case’ scenario, the global temperature will still rise by 2°C. In the UK, this means longer dry spells in summer and warmer, wetter winters. Growing seasons will lengthen and we will face more extreme weather events such as droughts and storms.
By using water more wisely in our homes, gardens and workplaces, we can ease the pressure on our wetlands and rivers in these times of stress
We will be able to grow new plants in our gardens, typically from more southern climes – but we may have to let go those plants that are no longer climatically suitable.
The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) and National Trust have done a comprehensive assessment of how climate change will affect British gardening – including forecasts about how weeds and other pest species will affect conventional gardens. Their report is available on the UKCIP website, linked from this page.
By using water more wisely in our homes, gardens and workplaces, we can ease the pressure on our wetlands and rivers in these times of stress.
Saving water will ensure more stable, resilient habitats for the birds and other wildlife that depend on our water environment for their survival.
Sometimes it’s obvious where we can save water. We can collect rainwater to water our gardens, or take showers instead of baths. Other times, the water connection is less obvious – but could be just as important for wildlife and the environment.
Consider the food in your shopping basket – produce such as potatoes, tomatoes and oranges which need a lot of water to grow. Some food production in arid countries relies on unsustainable sources of water, which in turn shrinks wetlands and the wildlife that depends on them. You can help tackle water stress overseas by buying water-hungry produce from countries with plentiful water supplies.
There are dozens of little changes you can make to your lifestyle that will add up to make a real difference to help wildlife and the environment. We've put together some simple and easy hints and tips on how you can live a greener lifestyle.
What can I do?