We begin with some good news amid the virus gloom.  The results from the 2019 Butterfly Conservation UK butterfly monitoring scheme show that butterflies bounced back last summer with their best year since 1997.  Further, just over half of UK butterfly species showed higher population levels in 2019 compared with 2018. click here for the full results.   Butterfly Conservation also has suggestions for activities to keep us going.

And here’s a butterfly guide from the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust with some tremendous pictures.  ∫∫∫

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Meanwhile, Plantlife reports some encouraging news about its campaign for roadside flowers.  They note: “It’s been wonderful to see on social media many photos of botanical gems that people have spotted whilst out for their daily exercise; there is some solace to be found in nature.  Roads have fallen quiet as lockdown is observed, as has the drone of many councils’ mowers.  Councils are under considerable pressure due to the Coronavirus crisis and many have understandably reduced grass cutting down to essential management to maintain visibility and ensure road safety.  There’s hope that reduced cutting frequencies might be a silver lining for verge wild flowers, giving once-familiar flowers, such as white campion, betony, greater knapweed and harebell, the chance to grow, flower and set seed.”  ∫∫∫

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The Robert Ferguson Primary School in Carlisle is running a National Youth Climate Summit “Every generation for a sustainable future” on Wednesday, 22 April from 1200 to 1500.  In this, UK Schools and youth activists will come together to take part in a live-streamed, video conference.  Detail are here ∫∫∫

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St Paul’s Girl’s School is co-ordinating an on-line eco-anxiety secondary school teacher training event on mental health issues in young people arising from the climate and ecological crises.  The organisers say: “There has been a lot in the press recently about eco-anxiety, particularly among young people.  Students are striking from school and demanding governments and people in power do more to address the climate and ecological crises.  Are you a secondary school teacher, member of staff or counsellor who would like to know more about how to address teenagers’ concerns and questions?  What should you say or not say? How can you allay the concerns of parents and colleagues? Who and what is out there to help you?”

It’s on 27 April 1630 to 1800.  Details are here.   ∫∫∫

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Thanks to Sarah Lardner and Ben Ballin for alerting us to this list of sustainability-focused training sessions:

  • Field Studies Council has a range of geography and science content aimed at KS2, KS3, GCSE and progression from GCSE to A level 20 April – 1 May

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The UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) has offered advice to its members and others on climate activism at a time when school climate strikes are impossible because there is no schooling.  This includes:

Climate strikes and COVID-19  and Messaging

COVID-19 specific organising and  Online/remote campaigning

Physical actions and  Legality and policing .  ∫∫∫

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NASA continues to provide climate-related resources for those in and out of schools.  This includes a section explaining the links between weather, global warming and climate change, and a Climate kids section that poses and answers a series of big (ie, fundamental questions such as: what’s the greenhouse effect?, what’s the big deal with carbon?, what does global climate change mean? ∫∫∫

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April 22nd is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action.  The organisers say: “The enormous challenges — but also the vast opportunities — of acting on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.  … nations will be expected to increase their national commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.  The time is now for citizens to call for greater global ambition to tackle our climate crisis.  Unless every country in the world steps up – and steps up with urgency and ambition — we are consigning current and future generations to a dangerous future.  Earth Day 2020 will be far more than a day.  It must be a historic moment when citizens of the world rise up in a united call for the creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery that we need to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future.” ∫∫∫

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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has announced agreement on the European Plastics Pact which is part of the Foundation’s global Plastics Pact network.  This brings together governments and businesses within the European Economic Area (EEA) to work towards a common vision for a circular economy for plastic, in which plastics never become waste or pollution.  The Pact has been initiated by the French Ministry of the Ecological and Solidary Transition, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, and the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food, in consultation with more than 80 organisations from across Europe, and with the support of WRAP.  You can find details here and see what this involves.  ∫∫∫

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The Permaculture Association has an on-line Introduction to Engaging Children in Permaculture course.  It runs: 0900 to 1300 on April 20th to 22nd.  This is a course for school & nursery teachers, forest school leaders, nature kindergarten teachers, parents and other educators to learn how to engage children in all aspects of permaculture, learning from nature with a child-led approach.  ∫∫∫

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The Economist reported that the northern-hemisphere winter of 2019-20 was the warmest ever on land with temperatures staying roughly the same from November to March.  There’s a clear graph showing average temperatures across the globe.  This is part of the paper’s weekly climate round-up. Other features included agriculture across Africa and the link between COVID-19 and clean air.  The Economist Radio has an interview with Sir David Attenborough.  ∫∫∫