Welcome to our Blog. Inspiration, updates and industry trends from the team at Landscaping Solutions.
If you are a regular reader of the Landscaping Solutions Blog you may remember back in January of last year we did an article covering the preposterous plans to commence fracking in Sherwood Forests.
One of the world's largest chemical companies Ineos, were leading the charge at the time and had gone as far as to obtain all the relevant licences to begin searching for shale gas beneath the ancient woodland.
Fortunately, after a great deal of protesting and negative media attention these plans were subsequently dropped.
Sadly there’s no time to breath a sigh of relief just yet. With Ineos busy eyeing up their next target. Companies like Cuadrilla Resources are already busy at work.
Following years of protests, demonstrations and debate Cuadrilla Resources have sadly begun fracking for shale gas at their site in Little Plumpton, Lancashire on the 15 October.
This marks the first time fracking has been carried out in the UK since the process was linked to earthquakes, caused by Cuadrilla Resources, back in 2011.
It comes as no surprise then when you hear the news that the Little Plumpton site is already in trouble. At the time of writing this article the site had triggered 37 earthquakes in only three weeks.
Worryingly, two of those earthquakes were powerful enough to breach regulatory limits and be categorised as "red" events by the Oil and Gas Authority monitoring system, meaning work had to stop completely for a minimum of 18 hours. On a third occasion an earthquake came so close to a “red” event that Cuadrilla Resources themselves voluntarily ceased operations.
Some organisations are concerned that these repeated breaches of regulatory limits already suggest Cuadrilla are in way over their heads. Yet shockingly, only last week the chief executive of Cuadrilla urged the government to relax the shale gas exploration limits currently imposed on fracking. The energy minister, Claire Perry, thankfully rejected such requests.
The reality though is that the Government shouldn’t be giving projects like this the go ahead in the first place. We should be shifting away from fossil fuels, not looking at ways to make it easier for companies like Cuadrilla Resources and Ineos to dig up more.
Fracking is by no means a long term solution and at best can only serve to extend the supplies of current fuels for a limited time. In fact, it’s sustainability has already been called in to question by countless studies with the most recent study concluding that fracking is one of the least sustainable methods of producing energy.
Renewable energy solutions are truly the only way forward, offering a long term solution, to the long term problem of maintaining energy supplies but also reducing carbon emissions.
However, until the Government is prepared to listen to the environmental scientists and the growing concerns of the public, councillors and MPs, Theresa May’s recent promise of a healthier environment for the next generation, is unlikely to be one she can keep.
An unfortunate side affect of living a modern lifestyle is losing touch with nature. As we further develop our towns and cities, slowly swallowing up fields, parks and woodland the gradual loss of our natural surroundings is becoming ever more apparent.
Thankfully, as a nation we are becoming more environmentally aware everyday and attitudes are beginning to shift. As the effects of climate change begin to touch our everyday lives, there has been a rise of eco-conscious gardeners wanting to get back to nature and live a more sustainable lifestyle.
With this change in attitudes, people are developing a greater awareness of the environment as well as becoming more considerate of garden wildlife. Recent figures released by Wyevale Garden Centres showed that 67% of people surveyed considered themselves to be eco-conscious when it came to their approach to gardening. City dwellers in particular are setting a good example when it comes to cutting back on waste and encouraging wildlife.
The same survey also revealed that more than three quarters of gardeners try to avoid using chemicals in their gardens, with 46% opting for organic fertilisers as an alternative.
The negative impact our current food system has on the environment is also becoming clear to the eco-conscious gardeners of today. For this reason, growing your own food and in particular, watching what you eat, is becoming increasingly important to many.
People want to know where their food is grown and are aware that by adopting an organic approach to growing they can dramatically reduce their food’s carbon footprint.
As a result, the grow your own movement has been gaining traction and has quickly become a key focus for the eco-conscious gardener. In fact, a recent report from The Soil Association revealed the UK organic market alone is now worth £2.2 billion.
For those starting out in eco-gardening, knowing were to start can sometimes be a daunting prospect. The trick is to start small with something simple; using recycled pots, encouraging birds and wildlife in to your garden or installing a water-butt can quickly set you on the path to becoming an eco-gardener.
If growing your own food tickles your fancy then starting with items that are relatively easy to grow is also a good way of beginning your eco-gardening journey. A perfect starting point for example would be growing tomatoes. Tomatoes require minimal effort but can still yield satisfying and tasty results.
While all this may seem like relatively small steps at first, if all of us began thinking about changes we could make in our own gardens and implementing those changes we could make a difference. Not only to our own surroundings but to the environment too.
A number of recent studies conducted by researchers and health practitioners have concluded that daily contact with nature has a positive and long lasting affect on our mood. The simple act of gardening itself provides substantial human health benefits and not just for your physical health but your mental health too. In short, gardening is good for you.
Studies carried out across the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East all looked at the effects of daily contact with nature and its long lasting benefits on our health.
The research showed a wide range of positive health outcomes, such as reductions in depression, anxiety, and weight loss.
Many of us live in a society full of daily stresses. Difficult commutes, long working hours, daily obligations and workplace pressures all form part of our daily routines. Add to this high-fat diets, environmental pollutants and increased levels of social and psychological stress and it quickly becomes easy to lose touch with nature altogether.
As a result, conditions such as heart disease, depression, diabetes, and obesity have become a major public health issue. It is estimated that worldwide, approximately 415 million people currently suffer from diabetes and somewhere in the region of 350 million people suffer from some form of depression. Sadly this trend shows no sign of slowing.
As part of the various studies, a number of volunteers who had been diagnosed with depression, persistent low mood, or bipolar disorder were asked to spend six hours a week planting. After three months, over half of the volunteers had experienced a measurable improvement in their symptoms of depression with others showing lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
As the research has shown reversing the adverse effects of losing touch with nature is possible. The sensory experience of gardening offers the opportunity to quickly and easily reconnect with nature. First and foremost gardening gets you outdoors, while simple tasks like digging, planting and weeding offer excellent forms of low-impact exercise. The plants themselves improve your local environment, trapping toxins and filtering harmful pollutants, in turn improving not just your health and wellbeing but those around you too.
The beauty of it is you don't need a big garden to start reaping the benefits either. A small garden or courtyard is more than sufficient and even something as simple as gardening containers is a great way to start out. With the right approach even the simplest gardening experience can help make a difference.
As subject matter close to our hearts, we’ve covered a number of environmental issues over the past months. If you have found this article interesting you may also enjoy some of our previous articles - Battling Urban Air Pollution: The Humble Hedge, Pocket Parks and Bees In Crisis.