Natural Remedies: How Mother Nature can help us with the climate crisis

  • Watch a series of reports by ITV's Lauren Hall

We all know the power of nature and we're increasingly turning to it to help in the fight against climate change.Across the Anglia region, there is a concerted effort to plant more trees. There is a focus on restoring some of our ancient woodlands and there are plans for a new forest in Peterborough.Hedgerows are also being planted across the countryside.

In the village of St Osyth, Essex, you can see a mile of saplings which have recently been put into the ground.

Volunteer Tree Warden, Michael Wadham. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Michael Wadham, a volunteer Tree Warden, told us: “It’s said to be the driest place in the British Isles and our thinking is, if we can get a mile of hedgerow to grow here, we can get a mile of hedgerow to grow anywhere in the country! And, of course, planting hedgerows and planting trees and other initiatives, does help us absorb some carbon out of the environment.”

Meanwhile, work is underway to restore our peatlands in the Cambridgeshire Fens. 

Peat can store huge amounts of carbon, but many of the sites where it is found have faced huge destruction over the last couple of centuries.

Great Fen in Cambridgeshire. Credit: ITV

The ground level at Great Fen used to be much higher but it was drained for farming before anyone knew about the environmental consequences.

“A couple of hundred years ago, it was three metres taller than us,” explains Jack Clough from the Sustainability Research Institute.

Describing the conditions now it has been restored he said: “This is exactly what a wetland wants. It wants the water in there and that locks the carbon in the peat.”The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire is now using the site to pioneer so-called Wet Farming.

It involves growing a range of crops that thrive in wet conditions.  Lorna Parker, Great Fen Restoration Manager, explained:

Work is underway to restore our peatlands in the Cambridgeshire Fens. Credit: ITV News Anglia

“What we want to do is inspire farmers to do farming in a different way that will protect soil and lock in that carbon, and actually give them a new tool for their business that’s sustainable for many years into the future.”Our peatlands have also faced destruction from the horticultural industry. Traditionally, peat has been dug up to put on our gardens and you can still find it in compost and plants you buy.James Barnes from the Horticultural Trades Association told us the whole of the industry is committed to becoming peat-free and is working to achieve it as quickly as possible.

The whole of the horticultural industry has pledged to peat-free by the end of the decade.

Away from land and into the water, there is also a focus on restoring seagrass meadows along the Anglia coastline.

Project Seagrass is a team of scientists who are working to bring back thousands of hectares of seagrass all around the UK.

Seagrass meadows across the UK coast are disappearing at an alarming rate. Credit: ITV

It is hoped these efforts to plant more trees and restore our peatlands and seageass meadows will not only be a boost for the Anglia region, but also for the wider environment.