This letter was published in The Barking and Dagenham Post on Wednesday 3 March 2021.
Wednesday 3 March is World Wildlife Day. As I sit down to write this letter the sun is shining, and the daffodils are in bloom adding a splash of colour to Barking and Dagenham. Soon we will be greeted by tulips, bluebells and blossom. All signs that whilst our lives have undergone huge change, the world continues to turn.
Last year many of us discovered for the first time, that nature can have a profoundly positive impact on our physical and mental well-being. When inner city families had only concrete jungles for exercise, we in Barking and Dagenham had award-winning parks to explore. Adding to this, the council embarked on an ambitious planting project which delivered the ‘Forest of Thanks’ – 32,000 trees in Parsloes Park for future generations to enjoy.
We share our borough with a diverse range of wildlife, from the newts in our ponds and the kingfishers along our streams, to the pied wagtails in our carparks. As lockdown eases and we slip back into old routines I hope residents will continue to explore the outdoors. Take a moment and you may be surprised to find there are natural marvels in the most unexpected of places.
World Wildlife Day also provides an opportunity to recognise that we are part of something bigger, and that the choices we make locally have a ripple effect across the country and beyond. Faced with a climate and ecological crisis, the decisions we make in Barking and Dagenham this year both as individuals and as a community could not be more important.
Councillor Andrew Achilleos – Member Champion for Climate Change