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Fashion houses launch manifesto to improve green credentials

Coalition of 32 companies will present its Fashion Pact at the G7 summit in Biarritz

A coalition of 32 of the world’s largest fashion groups and brands has published a manifesto that details the practical objectives and targets it has set to minimise the industry’s impact on the climate, oceans and biodiversity.

The Fashion Pact, which was released on Friday and will be presented at the G7 meeting in Biarritz, says it “will not reinvent the wheel, but create an overarching framework for action”, and will make its findings open source. It intends to build on the work of existing organisations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Fashion For Good.

Related:G7 and fashion houses join forces to make clothes more sustainable

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Global heating: ancient plants set to reproduce in UK after 60m years

Cycad in Isle of Wight produces outdoor male and female cones for first time on record

An exotic plant has produced male and female cones outdoors in Britain for what is believed to be the first time in 60m years. Botanists say the event is a sign of global heating.

Two cycads (Cycas revoluta), a type of primitive tree that dominated the planet 280m years ago, have produced cones on the sheltered undercliffs of Ventnor Botanic Garden on the Isle of Wight.

Related:Growing pains: how the climate crisis is changing British gardens

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UK standards on biosecurity are second to none | Letters

The government is committed to strengthening the UK’s biosecurity, writes Defra minister John Gardiner. Plus letters from Jim Pratt, Karen Lloyd and David Head

George Monbiot (Free trade in plants is lethal for our forests. We must ban it, 15 August) writes that the UK’s biosecurity inspection regime is “random” and calls for a ban on plant imports into the UK. As biosecurity minister, I agree that one cannot overstate the importance of robust biosecurity to the UK. We will always take strong, decisive action to prevent devastating pests and diseases reaching our shores.

The UK enjoys a hard-won international reputation for biosecurity, and our standards are second to none. Since 2012, we have invested over £37m into research in tree health and biosecurity and our unparalleled Plant Health Risk Register. Growing ever more trees and plants in this country is certainly the way forward. But banning trade in plants would not be a silver bullet – not least because some pests and diseases cross the Channel unassisted in the air, including ash dieback. That is why UK inspections are risk-based, not “random”, with the full spectrum of threats regularly reviewed and published as part of a country-wide approach.

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Museum shrouds endangered wildlife exhibits in mourning veil

Bristol Museum to highlight biodiversity crisis after children demand true stories of exhibits

One of Britain’s largest natural history collections is to shroud its exhibits of extinct and endangered species in black mourning veils to highlight the global biodiversity crisis.

Related:Trump officials weaken protections for animals near extinction

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The risk to woodland of putting wolves and bears back together | Letters

The animals will need feeding, and the woodland will require ongoing active management to minimise negative impacts on old trees, writes Edward Wilson – sentiments echoed by Abi Bunker

Rewilding is an attractive ecological concept urgently in need of an agreed definition. Bristol Zoo’s plan to introduce bears and wolves into ancient woodland requires greater scrutiny (1,000 years on, wolves and bears to get back together in UK woods, 17 July). Wild bears and wolves are creatures that roam over large areas of land. As top predators, they require a diversity of habitats to meet their life-cycle and dietary needs. When you are trying to put top-level predators back into an ecosystem, you need the other trophic levels, too. In short, bear and wolf conservation is a landscape-scale issue.

What we see at Bristol is a novel zoo exhibit. An enclosure of 1 hectare, 1.5 times the size of a typical football pitch is a tiny area for both species. The animals will need feeding, and the woodland will require ongoing active management to minimise negative impacts on old trees and to ensure adequate regeneration. There is nothing self-sustaining or “wild” about these conditions. Perhaps if visitors were exposed to a wolf pack hunting down a stricken deer they would get some sense of the rewilding reality.

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The Guardian view on lawns and verges: go wild | Editorial

Front gardens and roadsides reimagined as meadows offer a glimpse of the greener future we all must aim for

It was a startling picture. An eight-mile river of colour flows where once a dry bed of stubby grass grew – all because a local authority rewilding strategy brought country life back to an urban landscape. The stretch of roadside verges in and around Rotherham, South Yorkshire, planted with wild flowers for the third year running, created national news last month: photographs showing the profusion of poppies, cornflowers and corn marigolds set amid the concrete and brick landscape of the town’s ring road made for a dramatic juxtaposition. Who knew a central reservation could be transformed into a colourful mini-idyll for human eyes and local insects too?

It is a reminder that nature has a gift for giving. As our readers have shown by sharing their photos, meadow planting is having a moment. Aberdeen council and Highways England, which manages 30,000 hectares of green space across England, are considering following the example set by Rotherham, Nottinghamshire and cities including Birmingham, Sheffield and Manchester. Life on Earth has an intrinsic value, is of spiritual importance and contains an aesthetic beauty that defies being quantified. But there’s no doubt it helps that rewilding, often associated with grand schemes such as the reintroduction of species, can be as cheap as chips. Rotherham council’s new system has led to savings on mowing costs of £23,000 a year.

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IUCN red list reveals wildlife destruction from treetop to ocean floor

Latest list shows extinction now threatens a third of all assessed species, from monkeys to rhino rays

From the tops of trees to the depths of the oceans, humanity’s destruction of wildlife is continuing to drive many species towards extinction, with the latest “red list” showing that a third of all species assessed are under threat.

The razing of habitats and hunting for bushmeat has now driven seven primates into decline, while overfishing has pushed two families of extraordinary rays to the brink. Pollution, dams and over-abstraction of freshwater are responsible for serious declines in river wildlife from Mexico to Japan, while illegal logging is ravaging Madagascar’s rosewoods, and disease is decimating the American elm.

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Improve contraception access to tackle wildlife crisis, urges campaign

Groups say expanding access to contraception can improve lives and help save wildlife

A UN-backed campaign has been launched to help tackle the destruction of wildlife by boosting people’s access to contraception.

Growing human populations often underlie the destruction of nature, and barriers to family planning are the “most important ignored environmental challenge”, say the campaigners.

Related:Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, report finds

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Planting trees can help save the planet – but only if governments put people first | Stephen Woroniecki

Nature-based solutions to the climate crisis must work with vulnerable communities, not leave them to pick up the bill

A new study extols the “mindblowing” potential of widespread tree planting as a solution to climate breakdown. The scientists claim that 1bn hectares of treeless land could be forested – an area equivalent to the size of the US – and the study’s authors say restoration of such areas could remove two-thirds (205 gigatonnes) of all the carbon dioxide emissions pumped into the atmosphere by human activities since the 1800s.

A number of organisations and scientists are investigating these nature-based climate solutions. While studies show different levels of ambition and potential, all are clear that carefully restored ecosystems can help solve three interlinked crises: the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and poverty. For climate, the most urgent priority to meet the goal of keeping global heating below 1.5C is decarbonising the economy, but restoring our forests, grasslands and wetlands, plus enhancing soil health, could provide part of the solution to the climate crisis. Land restoration and stewardship can both help stabilise the Earth’s climate by storing carbon, and provide ecosystems critical for wildlife – forests, mangroves, wetlands and coral reefs. This can also benefit local communities, particularly in emerging regions of the global south least responsible for this crisis and already suffering most severely from the impacts.

Related:In Somalia, the climate emergency is already here. The world cannot ignore it | Mustapha Tahir

Empowering communities can unleash a wave of ingenuity to work with, not against, nature

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Storks are back in Britain – and they’re a beacon of hope for all of us | Isabella Tree

These charismatic birds could be just the species to get the public behind the concept of landscape restoration

In April a pair of white storks built a shaggy nestof sticks in the top of an oak tree in the middle of our rewilding project at Knepp estate in West Sussex. Drone footage, taken before the pair started sitting on them, showed three large eggs. The last definitive record of a pair of wild storks successfully breeding in Britain was in 1416, from a nest on St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.

No one knows why storks disappeared from our shores. They often feature on the menus of medieval banquets so we might, quite simply, have eaten them out. But there could be a more ominous reason. Early spring migrants, nesting on rooftops and happily associating with humans, storks have long been a symbol of hope and new life – hence the fancy of storks carrying babies in slings in their beaks. Yet their association with rebirth also meant they became a symbol of insurgency. Shortly after the restoration of King Charles II in 1660, with storks rare but clinging on, parliament debated putting greater effort into expunging them from the east of England for fear they might foment republicanism.

Related:White stork pair could become first to breed in wild in UK for centuries

Related:Why it’s time to bring back the great British stork | Patrick Barkham

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