Tag Archives: 2017

Goodbye 2017

So we find ourselves at the end of 2017. It has certainly been a mixed year in so many ways.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading. To those of you who took time to comment I really appreciate all your kind words, encouragement and interest.

And finally, I hope 2018 will bring much love and sunshine to all your lives.

crab apple in snow

crab apple in snow

2017 – The Environmental Year

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.



17 for 2017

So it is a new year. And I intend to start with an attitude of hope, that we are heading for a year that will bring, as a friend said, some calm. What can I do for 2017? I’ve been mulling over this question for a few weeks now and here is what I have come up with. (If you are interested this was my 2016 list and how I did).

17. Help seventeen people learn more about their environment.

As some of you may know, I do help run pollinator courses and I am sometimes asked to give wildlife walks/talks in a voluntary capacity. What I would like to do is reach seventeen people through these means and help them learn more about the natural world.

16. Send sixteen mammal records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Last year my goal was relatively easily reached so this year I want to make it harder by concentrating on mammals, and upping the number of mammal records I send from the 10 in 2016, to 16 for 2017.

15. Give away fifteen homegrown flower or vegetable plants to worthy homes

Last year it was twelve so I should be able to manage 15.

14. Fourteen fun days out with the family

There is nothing better than finding somewhere nice to enjoy for all the family.

13. Learn thirteen new words

English words or even some foreign words I am not going to be too fussy!

12. Write twelve blog posts (ideally one a month) on an environmental topic

Many of us are aware how much our environment is suffering, so I hope to post blogs that will raise awareness and maybe give examples of things we can do as responsible citizens

11. Read eleven new authors

This year I’d like to read books by authors I haven’t read before. These could be new authors or just ones I haven’t previously read.

10. Complete ten butterfly and or bee monitoring transects this year

I have not changed this from last year as firstly I can’t think of a new number 10 plus this is something I want to continue to do, so I feel it is important that it remains.

9. Find 9 ways of encouraging more wildlife into our garden

8. Discover 8 new things

This has been inspired by Cathy at (https://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/17-for-2017-the-beginning/). It could be anything but I would like to focus on health and researching a couple of health topics that affect our family.

7. Send seven letters to friends

Proper letters, not just emails!

6. Try six new recipes

Okay as I failed miserably last year on this one, so I have lowered the number and will hopefully achieve a few more this time!

5. Have five swims

Ideally in the Atlantic – I hope the weather is good this summer!

4. Find four positive ways of helping those in need

3. Plant three new vegetables or fruit that I did not grown in the garden last year

2. Record two new species for the garden

1. Attend one cultural event

A play, concert or something like this.

Ross Beach

Year End

In the final hours of 2016 it seems appropriate to look back and forward. On a personal level it has not been an easy year and I know that the same is true for many. For me there have been challenges I would have rather never faced, but there was no choice. It was sink or swim,  so we’re doing our best to swim. The words of Dory in the film Nemo come to mind – “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

I know 2017 will bring more challenges. Some I already know, so I can be prepared, but there are the hidden ones that take us by surprise, that can knock us off balance. I just hope that I will find the grace and strength to meet all these challenges head on.

From a blogging perspective, I have enjoyed the experience of writing, commenting and engaging with the WordPress community. Thank you to all of you who take time to read and comment. It astonishes me that someone halfway across the world would be interested in reading what I have to say. It is humbling. In a world where it seems that we are becoming increasingly divided it is an important lesson. It shows me that we have more in common with each other than we think. Perhaps in 2017, we can spend a little more time finding similarities with each other, and in so doing learn to respect each other and the differences that will inevitability be there too.

There is no magic wand. But there is humanity and each of us in our small way can do a little to change things. It may be as simple as sharing a smile with a stranger. Little steps. Often we are not even aware of the suffering of those around us. But by sharing a smile perhaps we can bring a little light, a little bit of hope into that person’s day.

So here’s too a brighter and more hopeful 2017.