Julie Urquhart presenting at online natural history festival

On November 16th, CCRI’s Dr. Julie Urquhart will take part in an online festival that re-visits and celebrates an event that took place during October 1995 in Eastbourne.

The United Nations Environment Programme launched the first International Children’s Conference on the Environment with its slogan, ‘Leave It To Us’ which was attended by over 800 children from 80 different countries. The event was inspired by the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development that took place in Rio de Janeiro and hoped to give children a platform where they could share and develop their ideas for improving the environment for future generations.

Making Natural History‘ is an initiative coordinated by Ralph and Antonia Lucas that “revisits the vision of these young activists and gives us the encouragement and the tools to build on their legacy”. Ralph continues, “the on-line festival programme showcases shining examples of environmental activism, conservation and education; it includes a series of family-friendly virtual presentations, discussions and masterclasses”.

Dr Julie Urquhart (University of Gloucestershire) and Prof Clive Potter (Imperial College London), Ambassadors for the NERC/ESRC/AHRC ‘Future of UK Treescapes’ research programme, will talk about the role of trees in the environment. The UK plans to plant up to 1.5 million hectares of new woodland, or 1.5 billion trees, by 2050, boosting woodland cover from 13% to 17%, in an effort to tackle climate change. These new forests will not just act as carbon sinks, but can also supply both public benefits such as recreational spaces and biodiversity, and can satisfy demand for sustainable timber and wood products. But we also need to be mindful that not all environments are suitable for tree planting, such as species rich grassland and peatland, which are important in their own right as ecosystems and as home to the wildlife they support. We also need to identify the right trees species to plant. Not all trees thrive in all environments, so care needs to be taken to ensure that suitable climate-resilient species are planted, ensuring a balance between broadleaved amenity woodlands and productive forests. Planting on such a large scale will be a massive national effort, involving national government, local authorities, communities and landowners. Dr Urquhart and Prof Potter will discuss some of the challenges and opportunities associated with making sure the right trees are planted in the right place, and how we can all get involved in this national effort to make the UK net zero by 2050.

All events hosted during the event are free but registration is necessary. Julie will be presenting at 4:00pm on November 16th. Further details and registration can be found on the event page.

Dr Julie Urquhart

There are currently 25 events taking place with full details of these available on the Making Natural History Crowdcast page.

The delegates at International Children’s Conference that took place in 1995 put together a list of 26 environmental ‘challenges’ which were presented to the UN and national governments around the world. These can be seen below.

26 Environmental Challenges from the 1995 Eastbourne ICC