Indications are we are about to have a spring of glorious blossom. Last year’s heat and sunshine followed by sharp winter frosts have been perfect for the development of buds on cherries and many other trees.
But while we delight in the glorious colours and scents we cannot overlook the fact that the natural world is in crisis. Recent weather may have been fine but the underlying trend is deeply concerning.
2022 was the fifth warmest year on record and the eighth consecutive year that annual global temperatures have reached at least 1°C above pre-industrial levels.
Global heating is already driving more intense weather patterns leading to destructive storms, flooding, droughts and forest fires.
So far, we have been spared these more extreme impacts locally, but we are currently on course for 2.7°C of warming and the direct or indirect consequences will inevitably get closer.
Ornamental trees may be putting on a glorious show but our wildlife is less happy. The UK has lost almost half of its biodiversity since the 1970s.
And its not just rare species that are in trouble. Once common creatures such as water voles and turtle doves have all but disappeared from our landscape.
The underlying causes of global heating and biodiversity loss have to be addressed at the national and international level. But that does not mean that we as individuals have no role.
We can all do something to reduce our carbon emissions and help wildlife. Many people in Haslemere are already doing so in their own lives or together in groups such as Transition Haslemere, Love Haslemere Hate Waste and Haslemere Vision Biodiversity Group.
In this new weekly column, members of the Haslemere Climate and Biodiversity Collective are going to tell you about their projects and activities and how you could get involved.
You will hear about efforts to improve walking and cycling facilities across the town, how you can improve the energy efficiency of your home, where you can get household items repaired, the revival of community orchards and why local congregations are becoming ‘eco churches’.
These groups and a number of others will also be showcasing their activities at a Great Green Get-together on Saturday, March 18 at HasleWorks on Petworth Road – more on this in a future column.
Meanwhile, enjoy the spring!
Clive Davidson, the author of this column, has lived in Haslemere for nearly 30 years and has been chair of Transition Haslemere since 2009