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News Report Page 12 of 16
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People in the North West Not Hearing Biodiversity Loss Alarm Bells 

DESPITE biodiversity being vital in providing the air we breathe and the food we eat, 74% of people in the North West admit they know very little about it or how to sustain it. And if that's not concerning enough, demonstrating an alarming knowledge gap, 28% of people in the North West go as far as to say they don't believe biodiversity is actually an important issue.  

Published at a time when biodiversity is decreasing at an unprecedented rate globally, these are the worrying findings coming out of a new independent, nationally representative study, conducted on behalf of biodiversity experts BioScapes®.  Put simply, biodiversity is all the different kinds of life on earth and defines the interaction between organisms. 

Sustaining biodiversity is essential for the processes that support all life on earth, including human. Without a wide range of animals, plants and microorganisms we cannot have the healthy ecosystems that provide us with oxygen and food, through pollination, seed dispersal, water purification, climate regulation and pest control. 

Terry Smithson, Lead Ecologist at BioScapes, said:- "The findings of our study are significant as they highlight a lack of knowledge of biodiversity in the UK and therefore an inability for people to proactively make simple positive changes. Despite the efforts of Governments and environmental champions such as David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, humans' domination of our world is continuing to cause rapid ecosystem change and mass loss in biodiversity, at an alarming rate." 

BioScapes' independent research also reveals that 80% say what prevents them from doing their bit to help sustain biodiversity is they don't know how; they don't have the tools and resources they imagine they would need; and they just don't have the time to think about it. 

Terry Smithson added:- "Without sounding like a supermarket slogan, every little helps. It really is within our power to make choices, on an individual level, to help ensure the survival of species and the health and integrity of ecosystems. We need to realise, by taking even small steps to promote biodiversity, we are also helping ourselves. Immersion in wildlife is also proven to boost mental and physical wellbeing.  For example, the current trend for artificial turf lawns may be a low maintenance option for busy people, but they provide a very low-quality habitat for busy bees." 

Mother Nurture BioScapes' data reveals that men are more apathetic towards biodiversity, and less likely to change their habits to support it, than women. Nearly 37% say they don't think it is important, compared to 25% of women.  Additionally, men cite a lack of free time to devote to supporting biodiversity as the biggest barrier, with 25% highlighting this issue, compared to 18% women.  

The new data also shows that Gen Z are significantly less engaged with biodiversity and the importance of protecting it, compared to their parents. Just 51% of 18 24 year olds think preserving biodiversity is an important issue, compared to 78% 45 to 54 year olds. Similarly, only 39% of young adults and 51% of 45 to 54 year olds admit that although they know biodiversity is important, they don't know much about the issue generally.   

Terry Smithson added:- "At BioScapes, our primary objective is to help offset the negative impact of biodiversity loss and preach the message of boosting biodiversity across the UK.  We're working closely with a number of Schools, housing developers and garden centres to rewild areas by installing our innovative, self contained eco-systems; Biocube, NatureArk and WildPod; which not only provide a tangible benefit to biodiversity in the short term, but also educate different generations about its importance and how they can do their bit to support it. These findings highlight a persisting lack of education and awareness of biodiversity in 2022, particularly across the younger generations, disappointingly, as they are in a position to have the biggest positive impact in the longer term." 

Bigging up the biodiversity of your outside space doesn't have to be hard or compromise the way your garden looks. These top tips from biodiversity experts, BioScapes can help you make your garden an attractive home not only for you, but importantly also for a much more diverse mix of healthy flora and fauna.

Keep it real; avoid artificial lawn; Artificial lawns have no wildlife benefit. Even a perfectly kept lawn with no weeds has a basic layer of wildlife value, because it's a good home to millions of soil dwelling creatures, most so microscopic we can't see them. Worms, grubs and grass eating caterpillars, slugs and snails all feed birds too. If you can, let your lawn grown long between mowing and watch the wildlife such as voles, shrews and butterfly caterpillar love it.

Trees and shrubs can transform the look and feel of a garden, creating areas of light and shade, filtering winds and provide nesting sites for birds and food and shelter for all manner of creatures. Include at least some evergreen species to provide wildlife with year-round protection from wilder weather conditions. If you don't have space for larger trees in your garden, remember wildlife is no respecter of boundary lines you could view your own plot as part of a patchwork of interlinked gardens and public green space near you, and so you could help make sure other local specimens are cared for.

The water of life 1 of the easiest ways to add wildlife value to a garden is to dig a pond. If you've not got the energy; a large pot or even an inverted dustbin lid in an out of the way spot will do. And keep it simple; it's actually better not to add fish to a pond primarily there for wildlife (they will eat it all) and allow water plants to colonise naturally. Don't forget to make sure any pond has at least 1 sloping side to give creatures an easy way out. Most wildlife, including:- amphibians such as newts and frogs, like shallow water.

WildPod™ - Biodiversity to go! For the easiest way to immediately set yourself up with an ideal biodiversity 1 stop shop to attract for a multitude of wild creatures and critters, you could get yourself a WildPod™. Made from responsibly sourced, untreated timber, it is compact (56 cm x 58cm x 115cm) and quick and easy to install, so can be used in very small gardens or on patios and roof gardens. They create a self contained area offering a combination of wet and dry habitats, supporting the process of rewilding through the development of ecosystems which encourage small mammals, amphibians, insects, invertebrate and plants to thrive. WildPods, from BioScapes, come in a bundle offer with deadwood (branches, bark, twigs), soil and clay included. And with free delivery. Just add plants of your choice. A bioscapes garden is a healthy and productive garden. Creating a garden full of different types of fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, trees and shrubs can nourish body and soul and also encourage a much greater variety of wildlife too. And more wildlife means a healthier garden.

Strike action announced at colleges across North West England

4 Colleges across the North West England will be hit with more strike action later this year unless employers agree to raise staff pay, the University and College Union (UCU) has announced.

Staff at:- Burnley College, The Manchester College, City of Liverpool College, and Oldham College will walk out for 2 days during College induction weeks on:- Tuesday, 6 September and Wednesday, 7 September 2022.

UCU says College leaders must act now if they want to avoid a repeat of the disruption of strike action in May and June, which impacted thousands students.

The union is demanding the Colleges increase pay to meet the cost of living crisis. Since 2009 pay in further education has fallen behind inflation by 35% and the pay gap between School and College teachers stands at around £9k.

In 2021, the Westminster Government announced an 8.4% increase in funding targeted at those in England aged 16 to 17 years old, the biggest rise in funding for further education in more than decade and coming after £240m in additional funding announced in 2018.

Pay rises were agreed earlier in the year at Hopwood Hall College and Bury College and UCU is calling for employers across the Region to follow their lead and agree to improved pay offers.

UCU Regional official Martyn Moss said:- "Industrial action is a last resort but following the repeated refusal of employers to give staff a proper pay rise we have been left with no choice but to announce further strikes. That staff at these Colleges are prepared to lose another two days' pay, shows the strength of feeling amongst staff and we encourage employers to listen. College leaders can afford to pay staff more must not force them to bear the brunt of soaring inflation and rising. Leaders now have until September to do the right thing and give staff a decent pay rise or face strike action across the Region."


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