UK's National Parks a 'natural' for Climate Week celebration

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Published Wednesday 27 February 2013

Next week sees one of the largest and most successful climate change campaigns in the UK get under way: Climate Week.

And it should come as no surprise that the 15 members of the UK's National Park family are keen to do their bit.

Climate Week is an annual series of events aimed at encouraging people to help protect our planet and build a better future. This year's Climate Week will run from 4-10 March. More than 2,600 events and challenges are expected to take place during the week, amongst them UK ANPA's All-British Food Challenge.

The food we eat can have a surprisingly negative effect on the environment, due to all the miles travelled to reach our tables. To emphasise this point and encourage more sustainable behaviours, the team at the UK Association of National Park Authorities have set themselves the challenge of eating only UK-grown and -produced food for the week.

At first glance, that may not sound too challenging but think about it: That chocolate you're eating? That tea or coffee you're drinking? Almost certainly the beans and leaves for those daily 'essentials' were shipped to the UK from thousands of miles away. What about that banana you had with lunch? Not exactly native. Or how about those tomatoes you had with dinner last night? Yes, tomatoes grow in the UK but presently they're out of season.

As it turns out, finding food that hasn't been shipped in from outside the country is quite a task.

'In view of recent headlines, buying and eating local food makes more sense than ever and helps support local communities and economies," said UK Co-ordinator Kathryn Cook. "The UK ANPA team is determined to go the entire week without turning to faraway foods that have a heavy carbon footprint. Fortunately for us there are a rich variety of winter warming vegetables in season -- including carrots, leeks and potatoes. So, with a little forward planning and a visit to the local butcher / food co-operative we won't starve!'

Meanwhile, all across the National Park family, a number of other events will be taking place that stress the importance of being environmentally conscientious.  For example, Dartmoor National Park will launch its Electric Bicycles Project: bicycles featuring an electric motor to assist riders up the trickier hills. In the Lake District, the park's chief executive, Richard Leafe, will be joining hundreds of other divers in cleaning Windermere lake of accumulated rubbish.

Our commitment to Britain's breathing spaces extends well beyond Climate Week, of course, with all 15 members of the National Park family having initiated projects aimed at promoting sustainability. For instance, the Peak District this year commemorates a full decade of its Moors for the Future project.

So, whereas we'll probably go back to drinking coffee at the end of the week (and by 'probably' we mean 'definitely'), the message and importance of Climate Week will stick with us throughout the year.

To find out more about the UK National Parks' efforts to combat climate change visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk/climate-change

To learn more about Climate Week, visit: www.climateweek.com.


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