I thought I would have a brief look at some environmental topics that were hitting the headlines both here in Ireland and wider afield in 2017.
- Wild native Irish honey bees are still here. A good news story for a change.
- Melting ice, read more about the melting of the Larsen C iceshelf here.
- Fracking. Thankfully onshore fracking was banned in Ireland earlier in the year, though it is still possible to do off-shore fracking. Still a huge step in the right direction.
- Wildfires – California saw it’s largest ever wildfires in 2017. Over 40 people were killed in wildfires in Portugal and Spain. Canada, Greenland, Chile and southern Europe all experienced devastating wildfires during 2017. It has been one of the worst years for wildfires globally and many link the fires to climate change.
- Hurricanes – both national and international hit the headlines. Hurricanes Irma, was the most powerful recorded Atlantic hurricane in written history. Hurricane Ophelia had been down-graded to a storm by the time she made landfall in Ireland. However, she was the most easterly Atlantic major hurricane on record. 2017 is classed as the fifth most active on record, with 17 named storms.
- Other weather events – there was torrential rainfall the the NW of Ireland in August causing substantial flooding and property damage particularly in County Donegal.
- Neonicotinoids are know to be harmful to bees and other insects including aquatic insects and there is increasing evidence that they affect other animals (e.g. songbirds) too. Research from England has found that 88% of tested rivers showed contamination by neonics. Of these eight rivers exceeded recommended chronic pollution limits, and two were found to be acutely polluted.
- The Great Barrier Reef appears to be dying at a much a faster rate than scientists thought. Again climate change is a factor, as the reef suffers sever bleaching due to rising water temperatures.
- Plastic in our oceans. This has been a growing problem for many years but this year it seems to have hot the headlines more. We produce over 270 million tonnes of plastic every year, half of which is simple use. over 7 million tonnes end up in our oceans. To learned more click here.
- USA leaving Paris Climate Accord Agreement. This can only be bad news. Climate change is a global issue and we need to work together.
Let us hope that in 2018 the world will start to take note. Climate change and pollution are some of the greatest threats we face as a human race. We cannot keep abusing this place we call home, because if we do there will be no home left for us.