The Blog

Ailing Planet Needs Our Help NOW

The state of the world's oceans was been laid bare in a WWF report released this month. Populations of marine mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have declined by 49% since 1970. Some popular human food species are faring even worse. Populations of tuna and mackerel are down 74 percent. In addition to human activity such as overfishing, the report also says climate change is having an impact. It makes shocking reading.

Meanwhile it is now killing season in the Japanese coastal village of Taiji where local fishermen corral dolphins into a secluded harbour and butcher them with long blades. The massacre was highlighted in the movie The Cove which quite rightly led to international condemnation of the horrific practice. The film was released in 2009. The practice is still happening. We just don't learn do we?

Of course you don't have to read reports or watch films for your dose of grim reality. If you like your wake up calls delivered pictorially there's always the famous photograph of a surfer riding a wave of trash in Indonesia. Or there's the recent photograph of a starving, emaciated polar bear struggling on an ice floe in Svalbard.

There is always plenty of brow-beating and noise when the media highlights an environmental issue with a report or a picture. People wake up, get excited, shout about the injustice of it all... some Tweet... and then they go back to sleep.

But what if we all did one thing to help the planet on a regular basis? It doesn't even have to be every day - once a week. One thing to help the environment. Volunteer for a couple of hours maybe, or give £1 or $1 to a charity or organisation that helps the environment or rescues wildlife (I know a very worthy cause in Surrey!)

Imagine the combined power of all those actions and all those small, inconsequential donations. They become huge. If everyone who thinks it's wrong to slaughter dolphins in the name of tradition emailed the Japanese government to demand an end to the massacre in Taiji I'm fairly sure it would not take long for the politicians to sit up and listen. The same is true for all environmental issues. If enough people make enough noise, and do enough together, things get done.

From the comfort of a centrally-heated home on the other side of the world, a dead polar bear on an ice pack in the Arctic Ocean seems irrelevant. But 70 percent of the planet is ocean. If we mess that up we mess it all up. As someone more intelligent than me once said, there is no planet B. In nature, everything is linked in complex chains of cause and effect and increasingly, the implications of our actions are being felt everywhere. Two years ago, the region where my Wildlife Aid rescue centre is situated - Surrey in the UK - was hit by the worst floods in living memory. The extreme weather was down to climate change. So even if you think your one thing won't make a difference, it will.

The planet as a whole is getting sick and we all rely on it for survival. So while it's tempting to shy away from the issue because Armageddon is a tricky concept to get your head around, doing nothing is becoming less of an option. You can't opt out of climate change but you can make a difference to the environment. Together we can give ourselves a chance and start to lessen the impact of the damage we've already done. Which is great news for dolphins and polar bears and is also good news for mankind.