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Climate change on the agenda at Big Wild Debate

9th October 2019

Small actions by individuals can make a big difference when it comes to protecting our environment – that will be the message from wildlife expert Dr Mike Jeffries at a climate change event next week.

Caption:Associate Professor Mike JeffriesAn Associate Professor of Ecology within Northumbria University’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Dr Jeffries will be part of a panel of experts answering questions from the public during the Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Big Wild Debate.

Described as one of the most important events every organised by the Trust, the event will bring together politicians, campaigners and environmental experts to debate the impact of climate change in the North East.

Issues such as transport, development and business will all feature on the agenda, with the panel of five answering questions from the audience in a Question Time style debate.

Dr Jeffries hopes to demonstrate how small changes can have a real impact when it comes to tackling climate change. As he explains: “Sometimes the problem can seem so big it is overwhelming and people might question what difference they can make as an individual.

“We can’t individually save the world but we can do a surprising amount within our little corner of planet earth. For example, here at Northumbria we are working towards becoming a Hedgehog Friendly Campus, making small changes to make our campus a better environment for hedgehogs to flourish once again.

“It could be something as small as a litter pick in your local area, digging a pond in your garden or eating less meat – small actions which make a big difference. We’re all on this planet together and that is the message I hope to convey during this debate.”

Dr Jeffries have a long-standing partnership with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, having first starting working with the organisation 30 years ago as a volunteer at the 1990 Gateshead Garden Festival, where he ran pond-dipping workshops.

He has since carried out research at the Trust’s Hauxley nature reserve on the Northumberland coast, exploring how ponds can fight climate change through carbon absorption.

Northumbria also has strong links with the Trust, with many of the University’s Environmental Science graduates going on to work at the organisation, both in wildlife conservation roles and consultancy jobs, carrying out surveys for species such as bats and newts.

The Big Wildlife debate takes place on Thursday 17 October from 7pm to 9pm (doors open at 6.30pm) at Northumbria’s Business and Law Building, City Campus East. Tickets cost £5 or £2.50 for students (with valid student ID).

Sitting alongside Dr Jeffries on the panel will be Alan Charlton, permaculture designer and eco-campaigner with Extinction Rebellion Durham; Jamie Driscoll, newly elected North of Tyne Mayor; Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative MP for Berwick upon Tweed; and Mike Pratt, Chief Executive, Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

Speaking about the debate, Mike: “This event represents a key moment as we all join together to take action against climate and the extinction emergency. 

“It’s easy in Northumberland and other great landscape areas to assume all is OK, when, in fact, the opposite is true. Factors such as pesticide, loss of habitats due to building development and the threats to key species from red squirrels to raptors, are all a cause for great concern.

“One way or another, the debate will underline our need to put nature at the centre of society and to act on its behalf with urgency.”

For more information and to book a ticket visit:


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