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Climate Change Responses

In the July issue of Cultivate we asked you what you think about climate change and how botanic gardens can be - and are - involved in assessing and mitigating it's impacts. We have had a lot of very interesting responses some of which are published here. If you would like to add your comment, click here!

Cultivate readers said:

"Encourage people and communities to plant more trees!!!!! Around homes, in cityscapes, everywhere possible."
From a reader in a US botanic garden
"Plants, especially trees are nature's umbrellas. Not only they help to ward off the scorching heat they also help to reduce the impact of thudershowers, hailstorms etc thus protecting the soil. By transforming themselves as a "carbon sinK' they help check green house emissions and maintain environmental stability. So along with green house gas reductions, steps should taken at a global level to increase the global green cover. And through the botanical gardens, the general public, especially children can be made aware of the beneficial impact of plants on global well being."
From a reader in India

"I am an anthropologist interested in local ecological knowledge (ethnobotany, etc.). I also am a gardiner in south Louisiana. Lately, I have been collecting bugs (Hemiptera) from my peas and tomato vines. Some of these plant-suckers seem to key out as tropical bugs. Climate change may be encouraging the northward migration of pest species. We need to monitor the advance of Insecta as they respond to climate change. Home gardiners may be able to help monitor this migration. An easy-to-use insect identification system is needed, along with a system gardiners can use to document and share observations."
From a US reader

"Botanic gardens can help to rise public awareness on climate change through various education programs e.g. exhibitions, work shops and training courses which migth be focused on:
-Reducing green house gasess emission
-Encoraging plant conservation or growing more plants as a source of carbon sink.

Moreover, research about effect of climate change on plants and how plants contribute to climate change might be conducted by botanic gardens themselves or with collaborations of other organizations."
From a reader in a Thailand botanic garden

"What we do at the Lautaret alpine Botanic Garden (Grenoble University & CNRS):

- involvement in research on plant ecology and climate change (with the Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine - Grenoble University & CNRS);
- studies of phenology (network PHENOCLIM in the french Alps; project of network of alpine/arrctic gardens in Europe)
- public education (20.000 visitors/summer) through guided tours, brochures, website"
From a reader in a French botanic garden

"By setting a positive example to the public. All new builds should demonstrate sustainable build practices and should advocate recycling thoughout the esatblishment. In many cases there should be a paradigm shift in the thinking of ALL members of the organisation so that they are 'on message' about sustainability. Interpretation on all commonly used appliances giving energy saving messages. Examples such as light switches, taps, doors(in winter) and heating appliances spring to mind."
From a UK reader

"Botanical gardens are on the one hand, the most environment-friendly place and on the other hand it is the biggest source of livelihood for millions of people. Singapore success story begins from the botanical gardens producing world-renowned "tiger balm" from the herbs"
From a reader in Pakistan

"Here at Glasnevin we held a Sustainability Week earlier this year. On reflection of a successful week and the time frame of climate change, I think it may be necessary to incorporate sustainability issues into the permanent interpretation of the Gardens. Our glasshouse complexes have been operating at a degree below the traditional minimum temperatures yet we inform few people about this fact. Our living as sustainably a spossible will encourage others to do the same - hopefully!"
From a reader in Ireland

"i think you should plant more trees.meet the various governments in the world especially those in the third world,particularly Africa,and give them the negative impacts of destroying the forest without replanting.Give them the positive impact of green vegetation."
From a reader in Cameroon
"My college has got an arboretum where we have planted around 100 different tree species, each species occupying a line. Around one dozen numbers of a species are planted in a single line. As a part of the Dendrology course our under graduate (B Sc Forestry) students are taken there for tree identification. This arboretum is also open to general visitors who want to know more about tropical trees."
From a reader in an Indian botanic garden
"Botanical gardens of the world should be united and share experiences also, make more and more botanical gardens and conserve the plants for the world. Community forest, global ecological zones, government forest, privat land etc should be preserved and more plantation or protection of forest is urgent. Only green lands and forest can controll global warming.Discourage the corbondioxide gas emission, live in simple life and love the nature.How can we control more wider roads, private vehicles, industries imiting gas, pesticide and other hazardous chemicals? water shortage is becoming crucial and ice is melting in faster rate than in any moment in the history, forest are vanishing, forest fire becoming frequent. In most cases the first step of development is to cut a tree in underdeveloped country.

Considering the increase of heat world wide every year Europe should take the lead to mitigate this problem. Lets unite together to solve the problem through the botanical gardens of the world."
From a reader in a Nepalese botanic garden



Climate Change and Plant Conservation

Climate change is already happening and is predicted to get much worse. This page outlines the effects that climate change may have on plant communities, and thus the threats to the well-being of human societies that depend on them.

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Friends of the Earth: Brainy Ways to Beat Climate Change
Friends of the Earth inspires solutions to environmental problems which make life better for people. These technologies put paid to the old cliché that we can't do anything about climate change.

Contribute to the World's Biggest Climate Change Experiment
We need the computer power you're not using. Join in the largest climate prediction experiment ever, developed by climate scientists for the BBC using the Met Office climate model. (A PC-only project)



Journal Articles

November 2005

Cultivate E-Bulletin
Cultivate, BGCI's regular e-bulletin brings you opinion, comment, case studies and surveys for and about the world's botanic gardens. Sign up today - click the link.
Download the Gran Canaria Declaration on Climate Change as a PDF
In issuing its ‘Gran Canaria Declaration on Climate Change and Plant Conservation’ the Gran Canaria Group, whose membership is drawn from major biodiversity conservation organisations around the world, calls on the international community to take urgent action to protect global plant diversity.
The No-nonsense Guide to Climate Change (Dinyar Godrej, 2001)
This easy to read overview of climate change sifts scientific theory from scientific fact and presents the impacts on health, farming and wildlife, along with an analysis of political negotiations on the issue and potential solutions to it.