Climate column: Our Land, Our Future

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This week, Wigan Borough joins the world in celebrating World Environment Day (June 5).

Here in our borough, we have our own unique environment to cherish – from Pennington Flash in Leigh to Wigan Flashes in central Wigan, all the way up to Haigh Woodland Park, the Greenheart area includes plenty of beautiful parks, woodlands, wetlands, canals and green spaces.

Our proud industrial heritage has led to the creation of some of our most precious wetland habitats and biodiverse areas, as former coal mines have been reclaimed by nature.

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Our very own nature reserve, spanning over 700 hectares of wetlands and linking 13 sites, is home to significant populations of rare wildlife, such as the willow tit, water voles and the great crested newt.

Pennington Flash nature reservePennington Flash nature reserve
Pennington Flash nature reserve

World Environment Day is a chance for us to reflect on the importance of our local green spaces and take action to protect them.

This year's theme, "Our Land, Our Future" resonates deeply with our ongoing environmental efforts. We've seen a growing movement towards sustainability, with local initiatives ongoing across the borough.

Let's take a closer look at some local actions making a difference:

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  • Great Manchester Wetlands: A partnership group of over 20 organisations is restoring a unique and diverse network of wetlands, spanning Wigan, Leigh, Warrington and Salford, enhancing biodiversity and improving the health and wellbeing of people living within and around the area.
  • Wigan In Bloom: This annual competition encourages residents to make positive changes to their local environment, transforming their gardens and balconies into havens for wildlife.
  • The Douglas Project: This ongoing effort focuses on restoring the River Douglas, a vital waterway that runs through the heart of Wigan. The project aims to improve water quality and create new wildlife habitats, as well as enhancing the natural beauty of the river for all to enjoy.

These are just a few examples of how our borough is transforming for a greener future. But what can you do as an individual? Here are some simple ways to get involved:

  • Go Wild: The Wildlife Trust is hosting the UK’s biggest nature challenge, which encourages everyone to do one wild thing throughout the month of June.
  • Plant a pollinator-friendly garden: Planting flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators contributes to a healthy ecosystem.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint: Consider alternative modes of transportation like cycling or walking, or using public transport. Opt for energy-saving appliances at home and switch off lights when not in use.
  • Eat more sustainably: Food production is the greatest driver of wildlife loss. Reduce food waste; eat a seasonal, plant-rich diet; and buy local to support local farmers and the local economy.
  • Join a litter pick: Organize a litter picking event in your neighbourhood or join an existing one.

Remember, every small action adds up. We all have a responsibility to protect our planet.

By making even minor changes, we can collectively contribute to a cleaner, healthier Wigan Borough for ourselves and future generations.

Written by Wigan Council's climate response team