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Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year, Nature is so Beautiful! Let's Protect it.

"Reading is almost exactly the same as cartwheeling: it turns the world upside down and leaves you breathless"

Author Katherine Rundell, (who starts her day with a cartwheel!)

I had intended that my New Year's Day blog should be a moan about some of the terrible things that are happening in the world today and a muffled unanswerable plea to improve things.

But there's little you and I can do about most of it. 


So instead I would like to take a different approach. 

Last month I made an impulse purchase of a book that looked interesting by a local author who I had heard of, but had not yet read any of her books. Katherine Rundell is best known as a children's author; she has also specialises in Renaissance literature.

The book dedicates a chapter to each of around 20 creatures who live in our world who are all extraordinary, beautiful and endangered. I have picked out just a few below that appeal to me in particular. 

My wish for the New Year is that we all make simple lifestyle changes that will help to preserve the world so that these animals don't disappear forever. It is a criminal act for us to sit by and do nothing. 

In the future, I believe that the terrible things we are doing to our environment will become prosecutable offences.

The first thing I will do this new year is to stop drinking cow's milk. I am appalled by the damage that some diary farms are doing to our rivers and countryside and the creatures that live there. Unless I can be sure of the origins of any dairy product I will seek less harmful alternatives.

Here are just a few of the animals in this extraordinary book that captured my imagination:

Welcome to the Spider

Spiders have 8 eyes. They never shut them and they don't blink. Without spiders we would probably have global famine as they eat a vast quantity of insects and pests that would otherwise eat our food.

Jotus Karllagerfeldi

Poecilotheria Metallica (in Yves Klein blue)

Coastal Peacock Spider

Welcome to the Swift

Swifts fly for 10 months each year without landing and eat and sleep as they fly. To sleep, one half of their brain sleeps after the other. They fly 200,000 km each year, to the moon and back 2.5 times in their lifetimes.

Welcome to the Hermit Crab

The coconut hermit crab, so called as it can break open coconuts, has a claw so powerful that it can produce up to 3,300 newtons of force. That's over twice the force of a tiger's bite. 

Hermit crabs are known for scavenging shells and other objects to protect their fragile exoskeletons. As they grow they need larger shells and sometimes you can see a line of maybe 20 hermit crabs arranged in size order, waiting to pass their shell on to the next crab in the line, with the largest crab taking the 'new' shell.

Welcome to the Wombat

The wombat can run faster than Usain Bolt. The look cute and furry but they can crush a fox and shatter its skull. The female carries her baby in her upside down pouch for 8 months. They are the only animals that have cube shaped poo.

Welcome to the Greenland Shark

They live deep underwater so we know little about them. But we have been able to calculate their age. Roughly. It looks as if they can live to the age of 500 or more.  They swim no faster than about 3 or 4 km per hour and they eat very little. 

The female is ready to give birth at the age of 150. The smell abominable and their flesh is poisonous to humans if untreated.

I hope you share my passion for changing our lifestyles to help protect these superb animals, without whom our world would probably collapse anyway. 


Happy 2023 😁

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