What exactly is Earth Day?
Earth Day began on 22nd April 1970. 20,000,000 North Americans (10% of the population at the time) protested environmental destruction and demanded change
It led to environmental laws being passed in the USA such as the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
It has since expanded worldwide, and more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now participate in Earth Day each year!
This year’s theme: Invest in Our Planet
Invest in Our Planet is all about speeding up solutions to tackle climate change and encouraging everyone to do their bit, including citizens, businesses and governments. That’s why the slogan is:
“Everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable”
So, what are we doing to invest in our planet?
Red squirrels are the UK’s only native squirrel species and have sadly faced a dramatic decline in numbers.
Historically, they were affected by habitat loss and were hunted for the fur trade, but their population was reinforced from continental Europe and began to increase. However, the introduction of the bigger, stronger and faster breeding American grey squirrel by rich Victorian landowners has become their biggest threat.
Grey squirrels outcompete red squirrels and have rapidly spread throughout the UK. Greys can tolerate a higher tannin (toxin) content in food, and these tannins are often higher in unripe fruit and nuts. This means greys dominate food sources before it becomes available to the reds. Greys are also carriers of a disease (squirrel pox virus), which doesn’t affect them but kills reds and spreads rapidly throughout the population. Without action, red squirrels could become extinct in England in 10 years.
Like many similar projects around the UK, Reclaiming Reds is aiming to reduce grey squirrel populations in specific areas to allow the natural dispersal of our beautiful native species. This helps to reverse some of the damage caused by grey squirrel introduction and gives the reds a chance of survival.
We are creating a low-density grey squirrel ‘corridor’ connecting a local red squirrel stronghold to Knowsley Estate where the last verified red sighting was in 2016. Once red squirrels return to the estate, continued monitoring and control will ensure the population is protected.
What can you do to invest in our planet?
If you would like to help us protect our native red squirrels, there’s a few things you can do:
Volunteer – Become a Red Ranger volunteer! We have roles available to suit many interests and abilities.
Submit your squirrel sightings – If you see a red or grey squirrel in Knowsley, Liverpool city, Sefton, St Helens and West Lancashire, please submit your sighting.
Book a free education workshop – We offer free squirrel workshops to schools and community groups of all ages.
Follow us on social media and help us spread the word – our social media links are at the bottom of this page!
But it doesn’t stop there. There’s loads you can do to invest in our planet, such as making your next meal plant-based, steering clear of fast fashion, and joining a cleanup. For more ideas, head to: https://www.earthday.org/take-action-now/