The long, bitterly cold winter of 2013 will have catastrophic impacts on Britain’s wildlife. Hedgehogs and bats may well suffer irreversible declines because of the weather. Hibernating mammals rely on stored fat to see them through the winter, and once this is used up, they die. It’s now April, and with more overnight frosts forecast, many hibernating mammals will either die while torpid, or simply starve when they wake up.
Of course most species are adapted to occasional dips in population, but in the 21st century almost all bat populations are in serious trouble. Gone are the days when I remember visiting Godstone Pond, on the outskirts of London with several hundred bats feeding on a summer’s evening – now a handful is all one will see.
I don’t want to sound alarmist, but I do think that we are ‘fiddling while Rome burns’. The environmental crisis is much more serious than almost any one realises. I have been watching wildlife for more than 60 years, and can remember what it should be like – and even then it had been seriously depleted.
Just because the predictions of Erlich and others were not spot on, does not mean the problem has gone away. Species galore are careering towards extinction, and ecosystem collapse is on the horizon.
Food security for one single species (humans) is in ever increasing danger of break down when - not if - a major environment disaster occurs. Volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, solar storms, meteor impacts, pandemics are all events that will cause the collapse of infrastructure, and civilization as we know it. And all because we are so disassociated from nature, and so dependent on technology.