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Tuesday, 26 February 2008

In the end, our society will be defined
not only by what we create, but by what
we refuse to destroy.


John C. Sawhill (1936-2000)
President of The Nature Conservancy, 1990-2000

Assignment Abstract

The Question;

“Rises in sea levels could have a major impact upon communities in coastal and estuarine areas,” suggests the 2002 report, “The State of the Cornish Environment.” (
www.cornwall.gov.uk)Discuss the likely impacts on the Cornish coastline and evaluate appropriate management techniques to contain the challenge.


The Abstract;

Sea level rise is not a phenomenon to be discussed but an event that requires action. The sea is a dynamic and unpredictable force, from which the coastline and its communities need to be protected: fact- the sea is intruding. The risks facing the global and local communities inhabiting the coastal zone are wide-ranging; flooding, erosion, increased frequency and ferocity of storm surges, and the threat to freshwater supplies from the encroachment of saline water inland. The coastline is a pressurised melting-pot of interests; social, economic and environmental. The often contradictory interests of coastal stakeholders are generally the first, in what can seem like a perpetual line of hurdles to effective management of the coastal zone. The UK has a non-statutory approach to the management of the coastal zone: there is no one authority to which responsibility for management is attributed; instead the sectoral nature of UK coastal zone management is seen as an impediment to efficient management.

The objective of this essay is to highlight the urgency for an integrated management system for the UK’s coastline. Its purpose is to not just stress the environmental impact on species and habitats, but also to focus on the socio-economic impacts on communities facing the threat of sea level rise. Climate change is an established and proven consequence of centuries of anthropogenic abuse of the world’s resources; it is now the turn of the world’s population to take responsibility and preserve the continued existence and prosperity of not only the world’s species and ecosystems but themselves.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Fictional Press Release

Fictional Press Release concerning the importance of a UK Marine Bill


Release Date: 28th November 2007

Disappointment for Marine Conservationists following Queen’s Speech

[1] Marine Conservationists are frustrated with a government who promised much and delivered little. The inclusion in the Queen’s speech, on the 6th November 2007, of proposals to draft a Marine Bill, falls very short of expectation. Speculation surrounding the Marine Bill has been in circulation for a number of years; included two years ago in the Queen’s speech, but hope was extinguished as the government yet again bowed out of committing itself to protecting the British marine environment. Melissa Moore, Senior Policy Officer for the Marine Conservation Society commented that the proposal promised “little more than another consultation.” For most this seems like a bitter march back into the confusion and conflict of government rhetoric.

Only 0.001% of the seabed and 0.12% of territorial waters are fully protected under British law. A recent Royal Commission report concluded that 34% of the UK coastline should come under the protection of no-take-zones. NTZs are a controversial topic; coming under strict scrutiny from the fishing community, who review NTZs as an attempt to ruin their industry. Through the exclusion of all activity in one area, it has been proven that fish stocks in adjacent areas have flourished. NTZs also provide an ecosystem with time; time to recover.

At Skomer Island, in Wales, the news was received with disappointment. Skomer is already protected under the designation of Marine Nature Reserve, and is the UK’s only coastal MNR. However, campaigners have been working for over 10 years to receive no-take-zone designation, like that at Lundy Island, for the area surrounding Skomer. Although protected, the MNR designation only covers to the low water mark, beyond this there are no regulations protecting the diversity of habitats or species. Mr. Michael Davis, head of a voluntary group, working with the MNR, added that “the news acts merely to force back urgently required legislation. To say the present looks bleak is a vast understatement. To say the future looks utterly bleak is a vast understatement. However, here at Skomer we shall continue to push our case forwards; nothing yet is lost, how sure I can be of that in the future is still uncertain.”

Contact: Jessica Wheeler at ripp1999@hotmail.com



References:

1 Girling, R: Sea Change; Britain’s Coastal Catastrophe: Eden Project Books, Transworld Publishers: 2007

2 Press Association: The Queen’s Speech: Bill by Bill: 06/11/2007: The Guardian: www.guardian.co.uk

3 Marinet: The Marine Bill; A Sea Change in Action; Developing the Structure for the Sustainable Management of UK Seas: Marinet: 2006

4 Eades, S.D: Consultation on Proposals for a Marine Bill; Letter to Mr. D. Bench, Head of Marine Legislation Devision, DEFRA: Marinet: 2006

A Fictional Article; Safe Haven

An article written concerning the necessity of No-Takes Zones and the importance of a UK Marine Bill
SAFE HAVEN

In the mid-summer of 2009, the British people came together to form the largest peaceful protest the world had ever witnessed. The aim: to secure full protection for Britain’s marine environment. They protested for a simple cause; they protested in their millions; and they won.

BY JESSICA WHEELER

Betty Vallentine allows herself a wry smile

as she says, “although we must not forget our

great achievement in the summer of 2009,”

adds that “it is crucial to remember that

there is still much work to be done in the light

of the full force of climate change.” An
original member
of the Fight for Marine Life team, whose famous march on the House of Commons cemented the gravity of the future facing the UK’s marine environments in the eyes of the British public. Ask any person walking down the street and they will remember the images projected on the Houses of Parliament of the dying seabed, the suffocating species, and a small red haired lady, calling forth the British people; calling for their help. “It was one of the most spectacular and vivid images,” recalls Chris Jefferson, who took his wife and three children, and joined the protest on the evening of 26th July 2009.

“Well,” Betty exclaims, “it was quite something wasn’t it. I mean, we really didn’t expect the response; we were probably in as much of a state of shock as the government.” The 26th July 2009, will be recorded in history as the day the public drew battle lines against the government, and won. During the morning a small crowd of protesters had gathered outside the Houses of Parliament to listen to Betty, lamenting the urgent need for the ratification of a UK Marine Bill. Betty remembers, “there can only have been a handful of us. I was talking, and felt like screaming. For years we had been campaigning; from our base on Skomer, we had banged our heads repeatedly on the doors of Whitehall. No-one was listening; no-one wanted to hear!”

It was her friend, and fellow campaigner, James Small who persuaded a reporter to record a section of Betty’s speech that morning. “Betty had such stage presence; she was battle hardened, sharp, charismatic and not afraid of anyone,” Small recounts. “I persuaded a friend of mine to film part of the speech, mainly for our records. The rest you could say is history, but I wouldn’t want to be that clich├ęd. The footage found its way into his editor’s hands. We should be thankful that he had green hands, as he aired the footage almost immediately.” From the moment of airing, something about

Betty and the plight of the UK’s seas grabbed the attention of the British Public, “and,” as Betty says, “they just started arriving. In small groups at first, stopping traffic; and then, well, it was just crazy. All you could see were people, and I just kept talking, I just could not stop. For years, I had waited for an opportunity like this; I certainly wasn’t going to waste it.”

It is uncertain just how many people descended on the capitol on that day. London was at a standstill; the tube stood empty, cars were left abandoned, buildings were evacuated as workers made their pilgrimage to the Houses of Parliament: all London drank in the sound of Betty’s message. Normally at a close of session, an unprecedented move saw parliament recalled. “It was almost like a dream; the scale of the demonstration. It all seemed so unreal, and at the centre this flame haired pied piper calling her children to her,” Mr John Evans, MP for Dulwich, remembers. “We had been under tremendous pressure to ratify a Marine Bill, but had thus far only reached the draft and consultation stage. We wanted to be sure that the Bill was practicable. We did not want to undermine our economic and sustainable development with inaccurate conservation measures.” Reading this quote, even now, you can see the fire of protest begin to burn brightly in Betty’s eyes, “It was this arrogant rhetoric that we were fighting. The ignorance: the assumption of man that he is above critique, above checking.” In a metaphorical coup d’etat, conservationists overthrew parliament that day and an act was passed at 11.46pm: the first Marine Bill. “They had it written, all that time. They were just waiting for the ‘appropriate’ or opportune moment.” Betty says.

Although, twenty years have passed, and Betty is now 68 years old, this has not diminished her endless pushing for change. “Achieving the Marine Bill was one small piece in a much larger jigsaw. It was the beginning of the real revolution.” The real revolution, she claims, was the fight just beginning to counteract man’s destruction of earth and the onslaught of climate change. “I am proud of my involvement in the events of the summer of 2009; I shall be prouder still if I can help preserve some little piece of the world I love for my great grandchildren.”

The Marine Bill 2009, in hindsight was passed just before the worst series of global catastrophes the world had ever seen. Beginning with the flooding of most low lying areas in the UK and Europe, to the worst drought on record in both India and Asia, culminating in an outbreak of the deadly “cold-flu” virus, which saw mass devastation of populations across the world.

“So, you see, the fight is never-ending. As long as there is life in me, I shall continue to fight for the preservation of it on earth.”

Getting Started

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