Throughout 2021 we're encouraging everyone in Merton to join us in the effort to make the borough carbon neutral by taking steps in their day-to-day lives to reduce their carbon footprint. Each month we're focusing on a different theme where we can all play a part in tackling climate change.
The theme for March is: greening Merton
During the first lock-down many people found a renewed interest and appreciation for wildlife and local outdoor spaces. By converting concrete into greenery, creating suitable havens and providing food, wildlife living near you can thrive.
Trees are not just beautiful, they are a powerful ally in making Merton a cleaner, greener and carbon neutral place to live for future generations. It's such a simple solution, but planting new trees and protecting our mature trees can absorb some of the carbon from the atmosphere, as well as absorbing air pollution, offering protection from extreme weather like heatwaves and floods.
Turn grey to green by replacing some concrete paving with vegetation. Mass paving over gardens since the 80s and 90s has been bad news for carbon capture and local flood defence, but also bad news to local wildlife (birds, mammals, insects and invertebrates) who rely on pockets of green spaces for their homes and feeding grounds. Restoring small green spaces and planting suitable trees in your gardens where you can. You can go from a concrete jungle to a green oasis by creating a green roof, adding window boxes or removing garden paving.
Maintain tree cover by protecting mature trees. Protecting a mature tree on your property or dedicating a tree to a loved one can ensure trees are not unnecessarily cut down. Mature trees provide many benefits, from providing shade, enabling greater biodiversity and creating connections between habitats, mature trees can save several tonnes of carbon.
Create a wildlife haven and make food available to encourage wildlife. Adding a bird box, bee hotel or a dead-wood pile helps create habitats for many creatures. Wildflowers and bird feeders will help to attract more wildlife to your neighbourhood.
Grow your own vegetables or fruit. Whether it's salad in a window box, fruit bushes in the flower beds or herbs in a sunny spot, growing your own may save you money and help avoid emissions from transporting food to supermarkets and plastic packaging.
Help green up public spaces by watering a street tree. As spring moves into summer, young street trees are can suffer from a lack of water. Please water young street trees near your home and help them thrive for many years to come.
Increase tree cover by joining a community planting project. Trees are best planted in winter, but now is a good time to join a community planting group to help identify sites for planting and raising funds. You can join the Merton Tree Wardens, a community garden, find a local friends group or the Climate Action Group Greening Merton theme to join the community effort to make Merton a greener and carbon-free place.