Humphrey the Beaver by Skinny Daz
Simple solutions to stop flooding are around, but the difficulty is in getting them actioned, as it’s difficult to get laws changed, by people in power. Floods are simply when dry lands get submerged, and flash floods happen in seconds. Long-term consequences of flooding include destroying people’s homes, dangerous trees and houses being uprooted and diseased water. After many months, people then have to return home to check if electrics or water are safe (only with official help), then in some cases, their homes are flooded all over again.
Although some floods are ‘acts of God’, experts say the reasons for most are pretty clear. You can check online for government flood warnings.
Floodsax sandless bags fill with water to make an instant sandbag, and are more effective, as they don’t require heavy lifting, can mould to shape a door and are easily disposed of, without pollution. One Yorkshire warehouse prevented £360K of damage, due to using them in a recent flood.
Why Do We Have More Floods?
Climate Change. Freak weather is causing sea levels to rise and more winds, and more rainfall, causing rivers to burst their banks. Melting ice also causes more water floods abroad, and marshy land on low levels (such as Norfolk and Suffolk) are more prone, as are areas like Caldervale Valley in Yorkshire, with ‘dips’ where water can gather.
Not enough beavers. 400 years ago, our country was awash with beavers (the ‘engineers of the rodent world’ who like to build dams, to protect themselves from predators). They were hunted to almost extinction. Now experiments when they have been released to the wild have proven that they can help to prevent floods. And they restore biodiversity so well, that more fish breed, so there are plenty for all. Read Eager, the story of why beavers matter.
Use of peat. This is a compost sold in garden centres, but its use is removing ‘rough water-absorbing land’ that is home to endangered wildlife. Make your own compost or buy peat-free (see make your garden safe for pets as you should avoid using cocoa mulch, pine mulch or fresh compost near pets).
Grouse Shooting (not just bad for grouse)
Grouse shoots bring in millions each year to wealthy landowners, yet only provide around 3000 jobs (the same argument given for the annual baby seal cull in Canada, which also says the reason to keep it is a few thousands jobs). These jobs could easily be transferred to ecotourism by inviting people in to lovely estates, to marvel at stunning wildlife. The reason grouse shoots cause flooding is because the land is burned to create heather for wild grouse to eat, and this makes the land flatter than it should be, which like peat, means more flooding.
George Monbiot, Chris Packham and Green Eco Friend all have written about it, but the law never changes, because those in charge are often friends with top politicians (two grouse-shooting fans are The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, who recently took their young son to his first grouse shoot, even though Prince William recently visited flood victims, to help out). Former RSPB director Mark Avery says another big concern is that endangered wildlife is killed (endangered Hen Harriers as they are natural predators and mountain hares as they carry mites, that could transfer to grouse). Read his book Inglorious: Conflict In the Uplands. Killing hen harriers is illegal, but often happens on land that is remote (it should be reported to Wildlife Crime Unit). Only the Greens have a policy to stop this practice, although Labour and the SNP are making sounds about having official licenses.
A New Coast: Responding to Storms & Rising Seas is a very apt and important book. Although this book is American (where of course they have been suffering with many hurricanes), we are not far behind. Impending climate change means we have rising seas and many areas are at risk from flooding and erosion. But rather than doom-and-gloom, it also offers solutions.
The book focuses on why governments must work with companies to be better prepared, rather than just sticking their heads in the sand. Drawing on 40 years of experience, he explains how weakened policy means coastal areas are more at risk. He tackles subjects like flood insurance and disaster assistance programs, and how to protect ecosystems and disadvantaged populations.
About the Author
Jeffrey Peterson has 40 years of experience in environmental policy, mostly with water issues and climate change.