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Climate change and local wildlife

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Abstract: Climate change is the biggest threat to humanity and to the biodiversity of the planet, and thus the biggest threat to local wildlife. In this presentation Brian will explore the lessons we can learn from previous global climate changes, and the ways species responded from the series of glaciations in the past three million years. He will then consider how species and habitats are likely to respond to current climate warming.

Having suggested some potential ‘winners and losers’, and highlighted some of the species likely to colonise Britain in the next century, he will explain how the Wildlife Trust and other organisations are helping adaptation to climate change. He will argue that the same responses will help in tackling the other major threats to wildlife: invasive species, pollution, urbanisation and development, and agricultural intensification.

The Wildlife Trust’s response can be summarised as bigger – better – joined up: bigger nature reserves, better managed with climate change in mind, and joined up in two senses, physically linked together, and reconnected with local communities. Although all major political parties supported the Lawton review, Making space for nature, governments have since failed to implement the recommended changes. Brian argues that gaining public and political support will be easier with a clearer understanding of the value of wildlife and the natural environment, and an understanding of how it can help protect people and their property from the worst impacts of climate change.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Philosophical Society series.

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