Sunday 4 April 2010

Green Shoots

I’ve been rather busy with toads the last few weeks – I’m pleased to report that the patrols that I know about in Norfolk have saved about 6000 toads this season - and that I have some spawn safely in my pond.

The picture shows my first potatoes growing in my porch – I can just manage to lift them outside when the sun shines. The sight of plants growing and toadspawn in the pond means that a hard winter is passing and lifts everyone’s spirits. Which is why I wanted to write about two things that recently gave me cause for hope.

The government has indicated that many new houses should be built around Norwich and a few weeks ago a development company put forward plans for Hethersett. Of course no one wants a building site to replace their views over fields and more homes means more traffic but I was encourages by the fact that the developers had made a big play on sustainable transport and listened to my requests for cycle paths. They had also include community orchards and proposed a zone where people who wanted to push the boundaries of low carbon living could experiment. They even mentioned, though rather too quickly, the daring concept of Transition Towns – though I did not detect much of a cheer from the audience. One of the researchers for the developers made her visits by bicycle. So the message seems to be getting through – though understandably most of the people of Hethersett would prefer the results to take place somewhere else.

The other good news to report is the success of the Costessey toad patrol. This was organized at the last minute but once word got around people were keen to join in and 500 toads were saved. Toadwatch now has over 100 members in the west Norwich region and saving toads has progressed from being something that rather weird people did in the dark to something that all sorts of people are now happy to admit to.

Opinions can change and quite quickly , once momentum begins to build.

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