Climate Change and Knitting in Zennor!

Take a hat knitted in the shape of a capercaillie, with a beautiful fan tail. Add a lilac knitted tanktop decorated variously with a seal, a flock of house martins, a jay with a Z underneath, and a white snake for a neckscarf – spot the association!

Wildlife photographer David Chapman’s talk to Zennor WI earlier this month fell within the Climate Coalition week of action which invites us to show the love for the things we cherish, so the topic ‘Wild About Cornwall’ fitted beautifully with Zennor members’ passion for the County and with our understanding of the need to protect the things we love from Climate Change.

Speaker David Chapman with Genie Krakowska Smart (left) and model Fae Esme Krakowska (right).

David’s talk opened with his spectacular knitted garments. The link was music bands, but also wildlife, and the knitwear – and the guesswork – served to introduce a series of beautiful photographs taken by David of creatures we love and are desperate to protect – puffins, guillemots, a kestrel, pinsharp, hovering above the camera: a peregrine with a fierce yellow eye and slate-grey plumage. Many seabird populations are in sharp decline: in the case of puffins the drop in numbers is partly attributable to shifting fish populations as ocean temperatures rise. However, the handsome Cornish chough is prospering and increasing in numbers due to the restoration of the short well-grazed coastal pastures where it likes to feed.

Some 30 people, members and guests, attended the meeting at Zennor Village Hall. On display we had information about climate change, including the Climate Coalition report Weather Warning: Britain’s Special Places Under Threat. We also invited people to show the love on a post-it note for things they fear to lose to climate change. Twenty-two people posted notes on a large green heart, and responses included the Arctic Circle, song thrushes, fresh water supplies in Africa, bees, insects, coral reefs, the four seasons – spring, summer autumn and winter – and, close to home, one visitor wrote, “Praa Sands cliffs – my house might fall into the sea”.

There is plenty we can do as individuals, said Pippa Stilwell, Zennor WI President. For example we can write to the Prime Minister and ask her to stand firmly with Italy, Germany and France to protect the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, now threatened by the Trump administration. We can sign up to the Climate Vision 10 Pledges  to reduce our own carbon footprint (see The Cornishman February 21 2017). And we can write to our MPs and urge them to support the renewable energy industry in Cornwall.

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