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COPin or COPout?

This month the UK hosts perhaps the most important conference ever - when world leaders will decide how far we are prepared to go to address the environmental and climate crisis threatening to engulf us.

WildCookham's approach is to encourage local residents to become more aware of the natural world around us and, in this way, realise that we can all do something to turn the tide. The challenge is so great that it's easy to think we can do nothing that will have much of an impact. But if local communities can make a difference locally that can add up to a major impact nationally and globally.

So, in this month of COP26, we ask: what is Cookham doing? How can we as a community come together to make the difference and give us and our children hope that we can tackle the greatest challenge to life on our planet since our ancestors first appeared?

We don’t know where this conversation might take us. But we need to have it. Are local residents concerned – and, if so, does that concern lead to action? Do we all know what we can do? Do we understand enough of the science to make informed judgments? And what about our community groups? Cookham is blessed with many organisations – our churches, youth activities, sports clubs and many more. How might they get involved (or are already involved) to focus our efforts?

WildCookham's focus is on our natural habitats. The climate crisis is far wider but the challenge - and the opportunity - is that it's all connected. We are already part of the local Climate Emergency Coalition and sharing ideas and activities. And we are keen to talk with any residents and groups to work as a community to come up with answers.

As a start we will be creating a page on our website ( where people can give us any ideas and start creating the links. Beyond this, we urge all of our many community groups to get this onto their agenda, encouraging their members to look at what they can each do and working with other groups to make an impact.

The evidence is clear. We do not have much time. So let's work on this together.

More volunteers needed

Meantime, we are doing our bit but we need more help. Work has started on introducing more wild flowers and biodiversity to Cookham Moor.

We're working with the parish council on a similar initiative on the Alfred Major recreation ground. Work continues on surveying and enhancing our hedgerows and we have started a major survey of local trees. Our plans to address the decline in Swallow and House Martin breeding in Cookham are now being developed ahead of next Spring and we have volunteers working on the ecology plan that's been created for Battlemead. And the Water Voles released in a Cookham waterway in August seemed to be thriving. It all helps.

This all takes time and you can help too! Thanks to those who have been in touch to see how they can contribute and to the 750+ people who have signed up to our Facebook group. If you have ideas or just want to help please contact us at

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Commenting about the COPin COPout piece: I often go for an evening walk round about and can't help noticing how many lights there are now compared with a few years ago. I know many are low energy bulbs but surely they are not all needed, and some definitely not eg uplighting trees. It was tough being an advocate of alternative energy in the early days - it was dismissed as fanciful even when you proposed combining all the different alternatives. At last alternative energy has been recognised. In the same way I feel we all have to take responsibility for how little things we do are affecting the planet - added together they can make a significant contribution…

Mike Copland
Mike Copland
Nov 21, 2021
Replying to

The increase in lighting is significant. How much is for security and how much is just for for effect? Either way it needs to be challenged. I suspect that many people are simply not aware of the problems it creates for wildlife, let alone the often pointless waste of energy. Brighter is not actually brighter!

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