It's time to get stuck in © Tom Marshall
It’s time to get stuck in © Tom Marshall

It seems to be all doom and gloom in the conservation world just now. Recently the news was full of tales of an ‘ecological Armageddon’ after a study found that flying insect numbers are down 76% over the last 25 years.

Another study found grassland butterflies are down by 50% over the past two decades. Butterflies are a key indicator species, which means their numbers reveal a lot about the underlying health of the environment. It doesn’t look good.

The swifts that scream through our skies in the summer are my favourite bird. I eagerly await their return to Cumbernauld every year. But their numbers have halved in the past 20 years.

There seems to be a headline like this every week. Not to mention issues like our oceans being choked with plastics, or Highland Council’s decision to give permission for development on the internationally important ‘protected’ natural habitat at Coul Links.

It’s easy to read stories like this and feel nothing but despair for the future. I hate that. For me wildlife and conservation should be about beauty, joy and hope. News about nature should lift our spirits, not make us feel depressed.

It might seem that there’s nothing we as individuals can do to help. But there are simply ways to help make our own wee corner of the world better for wildlife. Things like recycling, reducing the amount of chemicals used in your garden, or asking the council to leave wildflower meadows unmown.

And there’s another easy and practical way to help. Volunteer with Cumbernauld Living Landscape!

Our volunteers will be out this Sunday in Cumbernauld Glen Wildlife Reserve and you are welcome to come along and join us. Check out our website or Facebook page for more details.

Paul Barclay