Life in the margins

I recently took part in a really great focus group to help Ataxia UK with their work. The charity does excellent work in supporting people living with Ataxia throughout the UK. Ataxia is rare medical condition that affects muscle co-ordination and balance, among other things. It’s also a medical condition that I have. It’s been a tough year for people heavily reliant on medical services. With cancelled appointments and difficulties getting help it’s easy for a disabled person to feel marginalised.

            Earlier today I read a news story that revealed that people in Northern Ireland were unable to get the funds they need to survive. It seems this is example of problem people with medical conditions could do without, allowing people to feel that even if they speak up. Charities like Ataxia UK would have less work if governments took greater care of their margins.

Out with the Old?

Like saving your work or getting a haircut, updating your website is just one of those things that you should do every-so-often. You figure invigorated to make a change, like a fresh coat of paint will solve all your bull solve all your problems. But do you ever feel that that brand new attitude is just an update of an old attitude you’d forgotten about for a while?

               Recently I heard someone say that history doesn’t run in circles, a view I can’t understand at all. Time doesn’t run in circles, but history is filled with motivations that arose more than once. How many armies have lost because they were over-confident? How many times has a population been divided to control?

               But people still change, thinking the mistakes can’t be made even one more time.

Meaning well, doing badly.

Most people should know about that link between biodiversity and nature, that a greater number of species indicates a healthier environment. Not just lots of different species either, the diversity usually given by large populations is important too.

Usually. But if a population becomes small, like with rare species, and then recovers it may never recover the biodiversity it has lost. I’ve studied many animals like cheetahs, wolves and dugongs that have suffered from inbreeding as a result of this problem.

 The problem has come from many unexpected sources too. Large amounts of renewable energy are generated by hydro-electric plants dotted around the Baltic Sea. That undoubtedly is a good thing, unless you happen to be a Salmon trying to find a river to spawn. So the size of the population has dwindled, and releasing to domestic stocks hasn’t helped in the way in fact it was thought.

It seems that the diversity of wild stocks is greater, and that genetic banks aren’t as effective as maintaining existing populations.

Over the Line?

The UN have proclaimed June 8th as world ocean day, and with good reason. The oceans are a vital part of world ecosystem, there would be no life on earth without them. 20% of species on Earth could be found at sea, and as a carbon sink they could play a pivotal role in mitigating climate change.

Probably the most famous group of marine and freshwater animals is the Cetaceans; the mammals who went back to life at sea. This group contains whales, porpoises, and dolphins. Dolphins are the most well-known species, the loveable scamps of the ocean. Dolphins are famed for their intelligence and their desire to have fun; traits most people can relate to. They are mammals too, so a little more closely related to us than fish. But as charismatic species they aren’t great role models.

I know I’m anthropomorphizing, but if dolphins were humans a lot of their behaviour would get them tough gaol sentences. I prefer great white sharks, at least with them you know that the best way to get close is in a steel cage. Tuna would be a better choice too, maybe hunting them is a dolphin’s way of dealing with the competition.

How long will greening last?

In Ireland, summer is taking its first tentative steps, little cold and wet are the prevailing characteristics of the climate. However, this year the transition from an indoor tonight or lifestyle dosing little more significant than usual.

               This year many people have started to focus more on their natural environment, both in their local area and around the planet. Many governments around the globe have strengthened their environmental policies and are increasing investment to tackle climate change.

               Many governments have focused on such ideas before when their economy is strong, only to fall back on bolstering GDP when economic growth again inevitably dwindles. Such is the way of boom and bust. As Governments around the world bolster plans to invest in renewable energy sources, electric vehicles and implement wildlife recovery plans this time feels different.

               The change now is being drive by social awareness, more people recognize the power of the environment to improve their quality of life, even when unexpected economic difficulties abound.