Edinburgh Napier University

Category: Environment

National Insect Week 2022

National Insect Week 2022

Love them or loathe them, insects are an important part of the earth’s ecosystem. Furthermore, they are a vital source of food for birds, fish and animals. In addition, they pollinate crops and plants and break down plant and animal matter. Over one million species of insects have been discovered and described, but it is estimated that there may be as many as 10 million species on earth. Scientists estimate that insects make up to 90% of all species of animals on the planet and more than half of all living things.

All insects have:

  1. Six legs.
  2. Three body sections (head, thorax and abdomen)
  3. Pair of antennae.
  4. Compound eyes.
  5. Most have wings.
  6. Three or four stage life cycle (egg, larva or nymphs, pupa and adult)

Insects can be found in every habitat on earth from hot deserts to snow-covered mountains, some such as termites and ants live in large colonies. Others, like the praying mantis and some bees and wasps, are solitary only coming together to mate.

Insects in trouble

It has been well documented in recent years that insects are under pressure due to loss of habitat, climate change and chemicals used in farming. It is estimated that every minute an area of rainforest the size of a football pitch is being cleared, displacing the insects that occupied it. In addition, Insects are also being killed by pesticides and herbicides designed to increase crop yields.

To reduce the impact scientists are trying to develop disease-resistant crops. This will lessen the need for harmful chemicals. Also farmers are being encouraged to develop wildlife strips to try to boost insect numbers.

Honey bees are also under threat from the varoa mite . It attaches to the body of the bee and sucks out fat bodies and also feeds on the larvae in bee hives. Moreover, these mites are a vector for at least five different debilitating bee viruses contributing to the current higher levels of bee losses worldwide.

How can you help this National Insect Week 2022?

You may think that there’s little you can do to help the insects’ plight, but there are some simple and cheap things you can try at home. Should you have a garden, you can leave a wild area where you don’t cut the grass, let weeds and nettles flourish and leave tree branches where they fall. This provides shelter and dedicated space for insects to thrive. Also, you can try planting flowers and shrubs which are good for insects in your flower beds or planters.

Don’t have a garden? You could plant up a window box with bee-friendly flowers such as cornflowers, cosmos and pot marigolds. These can be bought for a relatively small price.

Bug hotels are a fantastic way to provide shelter and a breeding spot for insects. They can be purchased at garden centres and online, but you may like to try making your own. There are several tutorials on YouTube and it’s a great way of recycling old materials and garden waste which you might have lying around.

Alternatively, you could take part in citizen science projects to help scientists better understand how insects are coping and if their populations are in decline or expanding.

Examples of citizen science projects are:

Counting insect splats- https://cdn.buglife.org.uk/2022/05/Bugs-Matter-2021-National-Report-Summary.pdf

Tell us about your bee hotel- https://saviourbees.co.uk/citizenscience/

Garden butterfly survey- https://gardenbutterflysurvey.org/

UK ladybird survey-https://www.coleoptera.org.uk/coccinellidae/home

A future food source?

In some countries, insects are seen as delicious snacks. Walk around a market in many parts of Asia and you will almost certainly come across fried grasshoppers and mealworms on the menu. This concept seems very alien to us in Scotland, but some scientists believe that there is a need for us to start using insects as a food source. The ever-increasing global population and events such as wars put pressure on food commodities. This can cause shortages, which if they were long-term, could mean that we must consider some more unusual sources to feed the world’s population.

Edinburgh Napier has lots of books and articles about insects available at Sighthill campus library and online. Use Library Search to find them.

By Vivienne Hamilton

Want to read some more nature-inspired articles? Why not read Vivienne’s post in Ospreys.

Photo by Elegance Nairobi on Unsplash

World Ocean Day Wednesday 8th of June 2022

World Ocean Day Wednesday 8th of June 2022

World Ocean Day was recognised by the United Nations in 2008. It advocates for protecting, restoring, and learning more about the blue planet. The ocean connects us all and we want to create a better and more sustainable future, as well as conserve marine ecosystems and life.

Did you know that the ocean covers over 70% of the planet? Also, 70% of the oxygen we breathe is produced by oceans?

It is home to most of the biodiversity and sadly due to pollution levels, coral reefs and marine life are diminishing. Therefore, as humans, we can take action to protect and understand our relationship with the ocean and its habitat.

 

Turtle

Turtle

But how can we help?

  • You can support the campaign, whether this is online, a physical event, or sharing information around the world! Here is how you can help below:
  • Use educational materials found on the website.
  • Connect with your local aquarium, and schools, and amplify the event through blogging (like this one for example), signage, podcasts, and social media!
  • If you feel brave, you could deliver presentations (interactive alongside the ocean creatures), or if you live near the oceans, you could even host a guided walk.
  • Organise competitions around writing articles, books, or poems on saving our oceans.
  • Get creative and upcycle any materials found on the beaches that contribute to ocean pollution. · Sign the petition Conservation Action Focus – World Ocean Day – World Ocean Day
  • Spread the word and access promotional resources to engage communities on social media.

 

Protect World Ocean Day Beach Scene

Protect World Ocean Day Beach Scene

 

The marine conservation society in Scotland has a responsibility to ban any damaged activity such as trawling and dredging. You can find more information https://www.mcsuk.org/about-us/where-we-work/our-focus-in-scotland/

 

There are also links on the library’s Box of Broadcasts to understand more about Oceans and the incredible creatures that live in them:

https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand/index.php/prog/125AA041?bcast=127865111 https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand/index.php/prog/118B147A?bcast=127040971

Search the library catalogue for books on Oceans.

Take action here 

What is COP-26? The Climate change Conference of Parties

COP26 Image

All eyes will be on Scotland this month as leaders from across the globe meet in Glasgow to attend COP-26: the climate change Conference of Parties. You may be wondering what the 26 stands for? Well, it’s the 26th annual summit since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) treaty was signed in 1994. So, that’s 27 years that we’ve been arguing about change while the world’s environment has been steadily deteriorating.

There is another significance to the number 26 – the Conference has 26 goals that it intends to achieve. The first is to secure global net-zero emissions by 2030 and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. We are currently not on target, and 2030 is only nine years away.

If you’re keen to find out what the other 25 goals are, you can read the official document here.

Of course, we’re conscious of the fact that we are the host nation for this crucial summit, and we wish our Glasgow friends and neighbours well. We know they’ll be fantastic hosts. We’re hopeful that harmony will prevail and that the leaders come to a unanimous agreement about how to save our (only) planet.  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is certainly determined that this will happen and pledged in a speech on October 25th that “Scotland is seeking to lead by example”. Read what she has to say here.

A bit closer to home, the COP26 Edinburgh Summit takes place on 3rd and 4th at the Dovecot Studios in Infirmary Street, with a range of speakers and business leaders discussing their climate visions for our own city.

And here at Edinburgh Napier, we are committed to achieving our own net-zero in carbon emissions. Read about our commitments here and be sure to hold our feet to the fire!

Read more on Climate Change using Librarysearch.napier.ac.uk and you can read more about Sustainability in Academic Libraries here.

By Lesley McRobb

 

 

Don’t waste the world!

You are just one step away from reducing your carbon footprint for World Environment Day on the 5th June 2021…

Every year, World Environment Day is celebrated to restore ecosystems and encourage action for the protection of the environment for future generations.

Wherever you are, you can change your habits and educate one another about environmental issues such as wildlife crime, pollution, and global warming. Here are just a few steps you can take now:

 

  • Recycling or going plastic free – marine mammals are killed every year by ingesting plastic. To help save our ecosystem, use a bag for life when doing your weekly shop, and swap plastic water bottles for steel ones!
  • Greener Travel – at Edinburgh Napier University, we highly encourage you to walk or cycle to our campuses. One of the benefits of this is that you can enjoy the picturesque views of Edinburgh along the cycle routes, parks and waterways.

Find out about the Cycling Friendly Campus Award at Merchiston campus:

  • Blogging- save paper by writing online instead!

Shopping – look out for the Fairtrade logo on packaging. Fairtrade supports sustainable production, fairness, equality, and improved working conditions for farmers. Learn more about Fairtrade in the link below:

 

Further resources:

World Environment Day

Center for Biological Diversity

By Jemma Lidgard

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