“There is a need for education for all to develop an understanding of waste and recycling; food management, food and natural resources; impact on the environment; to support development of food growing projects; to promote allotments; tackling food waste, with food production part of the school curriculum.” (Theme arising from Future Scenarios event 20th September 2016)
There are strong links between this theme and ‘a resilient Caerphilly county borough’, which ensures businesses, industry, agriculture, people and communities are mindful of the need to look after our biodiverse natural environment to develop ecological resilience and the capacity to adapt to change. This will help to pave to way to us all behaving in a more globally responsible manner, as by looking after our own local environment and the wide range of natural resources better, we respect the global environment.
Our environment and how we feel about it can impact on our overall well-being. Environmental awareness includes understanding the current state of our natural environment and the impact of our actions upon it, and also includes managing and safeguarding the environment.
Climate change is projected to have a far-reaching impact on terrestrial, coastal and marine environments in Wales. Many animal and plant species and many important services (e.g. crop pollination) provided by the natural environment may be affected.
Summertime reductions in soil moisture and river flows are key potential threats interlinked with a projected increase in the frequency and severity of droughts. By the 2050s, and average year may be similar to the dry summer of 2003. Potential consequences include damage to important habitats and to biodiversity, and increased risk of wildfire.
Warmer temperatures may improve wheat yields and allow introduction of new crops. Even more important is the potential boost to livestock farming resulting from a projected rise in grass yields, which could increase the number of livestock the landscape can support. But serious threats to agriculture may arise from increased drought, and reductions in availability of water in summer for livestock and crop irrigation.
More frequent and more severe flooding (including flash floods) could pose a major risk to businesses and homes alike, with increased winter rainfall and rising sea levels.
Flooding represents a major threat to all types of buildings, which might be significantly exacerbated by climate change. Flood insurance and mortgages in flood risk areas may become increasingly difficult to obtain.
Milder winters may result in a decrease in cold-related deaths and illnesses. Hotter summers may lead to more heat-related deaths and hospital admissions, with vulnerable groups such as the elderly and long-term sick especially susceptible. Increased ground-level ozone in summer may exacerbate existing respiratory conditions.