TV naturalist and campaigner Bill Oddie has joined forces with Humane Society International ahead of National Badger Day on 6th October, to spend a night out with the Wounded Badger Patrol in the Dorset badger cull zone.
In August this year, the government began the roll out of its widely discredited badger cull to seven new areas across three new counties in England, bringing the total number of cull zones to ten, across six counties [Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Somerset], despite continued calls from leading experts to abandon the cull as unscientific and inhumane.
A YouGov poll commissioned by animal charity Humane Society International/UK revealed the high level of concern the public has for badger welfare, with 67% of respondents saying they would be concerned at the suffering caused to badgers if the cull went ahead in their counties. This concern is reflected in the number of ordinary local residents who join Wounded Badger Patrols night after night to check badger setts and look for injured animals.
In a video message recorded on the night of 3rd October by HSI/UK’s director Claire Bass, before she and Bill Oddie set off with the Dorset Wounded Badger Patrol, the veteran wildlife presenter spoke passionately about his opposition to the badger cull.
Bill Oddie said: “The first thing is that the fact that we’re still going through this rigmarole of will the badger cull improve the situation as regards bovine TB, a subject which was first mooted in scientific papers something like 10 or 20 or even 30 yrs ago and has actually been active for the last 2 or 3 years, and this government are intending to go on for another half dozen years, is astonishing. I mean there’s something wrong if they still haven’t worked out if it works or it doesn’t work. Except of course that they’re taking no notice of all the scientific evidence which says this doesn’t work. And therefore you look at the second phase and you say what’s it doing to the badgers as well. And it’s a cruel process there’s no two ways about it. Obviously there are some shot that are not killed instantly, it’s the same in the shooting industry, the same thing there, birds shot but they don’t instantly die…But it’s almost like ‘We are the government, you are the NGOs, you do not tell them what to do, we’re in charge’, and it reminds me of some bloody-minded teacher or 6th form bully or something, who says we’ve decided what we’re gonna do and we’re going to do it. And there’s no other reason than that.”
Bill Oddie also expressed his deep admiration for local people who take part in nightly Wounded Badger Patrols in various cull zones, saying:
“And thank god we get people like these lovely people at the back there who – I love the fact that they’re sometimes referred to as sabs, ooh saboteurs, you know in balaclavas. But they’re not, they’re just normal people of all ages, all types, all backgrounds, who feel so strongly that they’re going to come out here just about every night and go out into the country where they know there are various badger setts and they also know there are people waiting with guns. And they’re very careful, they’re not violent, they’re not confrontational but they are going to try and stop any gratuitous slaughter of badgers. And well frankly, my hat goes off to them.”
In Wales, the government has rejected badger culling in favour of stricter controls over cattle testing, cattle movement, and on-farm biosecurity protocols. The number of cattle slaughtered because of bovine TB has significantly reduced in Wales over recent years.
Humane Society International/UK assists a number of Wounded Badger Patrol groups in various cull zones, and HSI/UK Director Claire Bass found the experience very thought-provoking:
It was a starlit, peaceful night and I’m relieved to say that the only badgers we spotted that night were very much alive, viewed through our infrared camera as they snuffled about in the undergrowth.
“At one point we heard gunshots in the distance and had a sobering sense of just how vulnerable badgers and other wildlife are – their only line of defence is the compassionate people who make up the Wounded Badger Patrols. Simply peacefully patrolling near the badgers can be enough to displace a shooter and save lives, and of course they are on constant look out for wounded animals. Knowing that this much-loved and supposedly protected wild mammal is under siege so close by is very motivating – I’d encourage anyone who can spare some time at night to visit www.teambadger.org/wounded-badger-patrol to find your nearest patrol in the six counties where culling is currently taking place.”
Ian Mortimer who leads the Dorset patrollers, commented:
“There is no justice in killing badgers when all the science says killing badgers will make no meaningful difference to the incidence of bTB in cattle. So, we fight to protect badgers from ignorance, persecution and cruelty. And if we don’t fight for the badgers, who will? The badger culls are ignorant and cruel so it is important that we fight for justice. Having Bill Oddie visit us here in Dorset, to show such support for the cause, was a major boost for the troops. We know we are not alone in this fight but it is always motivating when somebody as high profile as Bill is prepared to put his head above the parapet, and give his time, to show his opposition to the cull. If we are to stop more unnecessary killing of badgers we need yet more people to join us and to walk the countryside by day and/or night and, for those who might find this difficult, there are other roles to be filled.”
Please support Wounded Badger Patrols: Details of the Dorset group, Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare (DBBW) can be found at: https://dorsetbandb.org/
Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations
Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?
The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.
New Construction Options
One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.
In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.
The Simple Retrofit
From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?
Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.
Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.
Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.
In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.
Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.
It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.
How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions
Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Public Health Crisis
It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.
It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.
Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.
With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.
The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.
With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.