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Nature and the Environment

Have a holiday or a weekend getaway. Enjoy nature and care for the environment.

Imagine a weekend in the country, take a trek or even book a cheap flight for an exotic vacation or to visit a wild animal park abroad. How about a river holiday or an ocean cruise? Closer to home, visit a local park or animal shelter or simply commune with the trees in a forest. If shopping is your forté, do it with nature and the environment in mind.

Here, we draw attention to some of the positive features of the earth, its flora and fauna. There are some disturbing elements because we have to tell it as it is and your help will be needed, but many of the links below are absolutely inspiring.

Black Goat in Southern Crete View from Slattdalsskreveen, North Sweden
Black Goat in Southern Crete View from Slåttdalsskrevan,
North Sweden
Click to enlarge the photos, then click 'Back' to return here. Most can be used as backgrounds.

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The Natural Environment Index
Down Shopping Naturally Down Animals (Domestic) Down Animals (Wild)
Down Countryside Down Forests and Trees Down Oceans
Down Parks in the UK Down Rivers & Inland Waters Down Taj Mahal

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Shopping Naturally    
  Spirit of Nature sell a wide variety of high quality, natural and environmentally-friendly gifts and essential items. Their range is especially suitable for babies and toddlers but caters also for adults and even includes household products. If you choose Spirit of Nature you will be promoting sustainable farming methods, fair trade and a cleaner environment.
    The Natural Gardner believes in ‘ Natures Natural Cycle’. All their products are sustainably grown, will be put to good use, then returned to the soil to further enhance it. Nothing is wasted, but something gained.
    The Natural Grocery Store offer the very best Natural food and Organic food with the added bonus of a home delivery service. Their online service offers an excellent range of organic food featuring, Fairtrade, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy free and no added sugar products. They claim to provide the tastiest and healthiest range of natural food and groceries, drinks, baby, household, personal care, and supplements available anywhere online.
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Domestic Animals    
Bonzo Junior A happy rescuee
Happy rescuee

Domestic animals have developed in partnership with man and both parties can benefit from the relationship. However, not all animals are well treated by their 'masters'.
Because many animals are bred in captivity to be eaten, hunted or skinned, parts of society will be revolted and there are societies which oppose the practices. We have our own strong views, but feel obliged to stand back. What is important is how we act, not what we argue.

    Animal Friends Croatia were founded with the purpose of promoting the protection of animals and presenting vegetarianism as an ethical, ecological, and healthy way of living. We found their excellent site to be well informed and presented; highly recommended for a visit.
Joanne stroking horse   The Brooke is an international non-governmental organisation dedicated to improving lives of working horses, donkeys and mules through direct veterinary treatment and community programmes around animal health and well-being.
    Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in Kent take into care, look after and provide a home for goats that have been neglected, abused or abandoned.
    The Coalition in Defense of Animals in Greece (CIDAG) was launched in June 2002. It is an international coalition of Greek and Foreign animal welfare rights groups with the objective of lobbying the Greek Government, EU politicians and MEPs to solve the problem of the ever-increasing stray dog and cat population in Greece.
    Disabled Animals Club is mainly for people with disabled pets. They run a Directory and resource file with info on useful facilities, treatments, devices and aids. Their site has a fairly extensive list of animal rescue organisations with short descriptions, covering domestic, farm and wild animals.
    Dogs Trust, "A dog is for life, not just for Christmas"™ the UK's largest dog welfare charity, campaigns to ensure that all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction. A recommended site.
Gordon with Donkey in Crete
Gordon with Donkey
  The Donkey Sanctuary (HQ: Sidmouth, Devon) aims to prevent the suffering of donkeys worldwide through the provision of high quality, professional advice, training and support on donkey welfare. In the UK and Ireland permanent sanctuary is provided to any donkey in need of refuge. It is the largest donkey sanctuary in the world and has a specialist veterinary service, a shop and a web cam. A visit to the site is recommended.
Sleepy from Greek Animal Rescue
Gar's Sleepy
  Greek Animal Rescue (GAR) rescued "Sleepy" (© GAR 2000) and many other animals from Greece. Click to enlarge the picture (not background size) or click here for more information on GAR GAR: Information.
    The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) aims to promote kindness and prevent cruelty to animals, working for animal welfare. They provide services including subsidised veterinary treatment, neutering and re homing schemes and run clinics and animal centres.
    UK Animal Rescuers site is for everyone interested in animal welfare, run solely for the benefit of animals and the people who help them. It is a directory of animal rescue web sites, pets and wildlife;homes wanted, lost pets, jobs, notices etc. They state it is regularly updated.
    Wetnose Animal Aid is a non-profit global organisation which helps Animal Rescue Centres worldwide by assisting them to treat injured and sick animals. Through their events they raise money to give to Rescue Centres especially smaller and less well known ones.
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Wild Animals
Brenda with Python in India, 1976
Brenda with Python
  This is where you can virtually transport yourself to the places of your dreams. Some of the sites portray breathtaking beauty, so far from the familiar, and sometimes mundane, surroundings most of us inhabit. More important of course is the realisation that the dedicated people responsible for the sites are maintaining and improving the lives of the animals they protect. Many of the pictures and accounts on the sites are astounding. See also 'Oceans' below.
    Our appeal: any donation of background size (1024x768 px), wild animal pictures for illustration on this site would be most welcome (copyright acknowledged). We can only manage frogs, squirrels, ducks etc at this time.
    Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, based in Britain, has a global remit. They cover activities to conserve frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards, manage 80 nature reserves, work with schools and wildlife organisations and research & monitor species' populations in the wild.
    Aspinall Foundation work in conjunction with Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks; it is a charity devoted to protecting rare and endangered animals and, where possible, returning them back to the wild.
    Badger Trust is a registered charity promoting conservation, welfare and protection of badgers, their sets and habitats. It is the main organisation in Britain and provides advice on badger issues.
    Bill's Wildlife Sites includes a directory of web sites of interest to wildlife ecologists. All aspects of wildlife are covered and you can suggest web sites by sending the URL to wildlifesites@wildlifer.com.
Liz Hurley and Chimps
Liz Hurley and Chimps (© BFF)
  The Born Free Foundation (BFF) is an international wildlife charity working to prevent cruelty and suffering and encourage everyone to treat all animals with respect. It is dedicated to the conservation of rare species in their natural habitat, and the phasing out of traditional zoos. The BFF site is extensive, you must visit it and be prepared to explore its content.
Couldn't resist this adjacent image (© BFF) of Liz Hurley with the chimps.
    The Bumblebee Conservation Trust was founded in response to growing concerns about the 'plight of the bumblebee'. They aim to protect bumblebees and their associated habitats through conservation and education, to prevent further declines, and to raise awareness of the problems bumblebees face.
Blue Morpho Butterfly   Butterfly Conservation aims to promote the conservation of butterflies and moths and undertake scientific study of them and methods needed to conserve their habitats. They take practical action to conserve threatened butterflies and moths in the UK and elsewhere, safeguarding important sites and landscapes.
    The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is a natural-habitat refuge for endangered Asian elephants, designed specifically for old, sick or needy elephants. The web site is a visual delight, with many attractive photos.
    Farplace Animal Rescue is a sanctuary for unwanted and abused farm animals, small domestic pets and injured or orphaned wildlife. They do not rescue cats or dogs, but may help with foster homes. They try to rescue animals from anywhere in the UK, subject to practical limitations.
Evan holding Koala   IFAW works to improve the welfare of wild and domestic animals throughout the world by reducing commercial exploitation, protecting wildlife habitats and helping animals in distress. They seek to motivate the public to prevent cruelty to animals, promoting animal welfare and conservation policies.
    The Mammal Society: the voice for British mammals, the only organisation solely dedicated to the study and conservation of mammals in British Isles. They support mammal experts and enthusiasts, working to survey, monitor and research mammals, learn more about them and secure their future.
    Photo Living World offer images, produced by Bill and Sally Taylor, portraying wild creatures and people in their natural environment. Every effort is made to ensure that wildlife is not distracted from their natural behaviour patterns and that persons are willing subjects.
Robin on Pussy Willow taken by Wendy in the Isle of Wight   The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is best known for creation and management of nature reserves to help birds and other wildlife, but it's work includes a issues that affect both wildlife and habitats and behind-the-scenes conservation policy development and advocacy.
Home   On the subject of birds, do you despair at the wanton destruction of bird-feeders caused by squirrels? Well here's a device we have found to give total protection. What's more its simple and cheap to make and squirrel friendly. You can see details and pictures of a Frustrated Squirrel here.
    The Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa is a beautiful Wilderness conservancy area. It opened in 1992 on about 17,000 acres but has been expanded, and is now 49000 acres with more expansion underway. A visit to the site is a must.
    Tiggywinkles, Wildlife Hospital Trust, a specialist hospital, dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating all species of British wildlife using veterinary welfare skills. You can help by donations, membership, sponsorship.
Tropical-Rainforest-Animals.com gives lots of information about ecology and conservation of rainforests, different aspects of life of tropical animals, conservation of endangered tropical species, ecological importance of tropical forests, environmental pollution and global warming and their effects on forests and nature.
    The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) is a conservation organisation saving wetlands for wildlife and people across the world. WWT is a UK charity with a national network of specialist wetland visitor centres.
    Wildlife Aid Foundation is one of the UK’s largest wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release centres; it is based in Leatherhead, Surrey. Dealing with over 20,000 wildlife incidents each year, the centre is open to receive wildlife casualties 24/7, 365 days a year.
  WWF is probably best known for its wildlife conservation work but it does much more, addressing global environmental issues from survival of species and their habitats to climate change, sustainable business, environmental education, use of renewable natural resources and reduction of pollution.
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The Countryside
Thames View
Thames View
  The information and links in this Countryside sub-section cover a range of physical aspects of the environment including the land, buildings (see also Parks below) and some of the flora (see also Forests and Trees below).
Bee on Allium
Bee on Allium
  Conservation Walks: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) site provides a register of hundreds of English walks and areas in countryside managed under environmental schemes providing public access. You can look for walks by region or county and specify sites with special interest. For example you can select features such as wildlife, historic, circular routes, picnic facilities, views and disabled access etc.
    Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is a charity promoting the beauty, tranquility and diversity of rural England by encouraging sustainable use of land and other natural resources in town and country.
    Countryside Jobs Service is an ethical business which publishes free and low cost information to promote countryside careers in the UK.
    Country Guardian is a UK conservation group concerned about the social and environmental damage caused by wind farms. It says it is not opposed to wind energy but sadly seems to prefer nuclear to other green sources.
    European Nature Heritage Fund (Euronatur) is an independent German Conservation Foundation with an international brief. Founded in 1987, its structure and orientation allows it to implement conservation and species protection projects. With a distinct theme from Europe we value the link and it has a site worth visiting.
    The National Cycle Network (Part of Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity) provides 6,000 miles of cycling and walking routes across the UK. Sustrans is also working on Safe Routes to Schools. Info is given about cycling holidays, casual rides, walks, travel to work, school, shops etc.
    The National Gardens Scheme (NGS), open gardens across England and Wales for charity. Most of the 3600 gardens are privately owned, some open as part of a group, others open to the public on a regular or commercial basis; all contribute to charities.
    The National Trust, a registered charity, was founded in 1895 to act as a guardian for the UK in acquiring and protecting threatened coastline, countryside and buildings. It is independent of the Government with a mission to conserve and preserve the environment..
    Naturenet, a voluntary enterprise, is intended for those interested in the countryside, its management, and nature conservation, also those who enjoy visiting the countryside including ecologists, rangers, wardens, volunteers, students, tree wardens, biologists, bird watchers and farmers.
    Plant Heritage (formerly National Council for the Conservation of Plants & Gardens), aims to encourage conservation of cultivated plants in the British Isles, supporting and publishing research, plant origins, their environments, to help educate the public in the importance of plant conservation.
    Plantlife is a wild-plant conservation membership charity dedicated exclusively to conserving all forms of plant life in its natural habitat, acting directly to stop common wild plants becoming rare and extinct in the wild.
    Ramblers states it is Britain's biggest charity working to promote walking and to improve conditions for all walkers. They work to make it easy for everyone to walk, whether in the countryside, cities, hills, the coast, and on and off the beaten track.
A Duck in Wisley, RHS
Wisley Duck
  The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), founded in 1804, claims to be the world’s leading horticultural organisation. It is a charity whose aim is to protect Britain’s gardening heritage and help gardeners everywhere. The society targets its commitment to gardeners through inspirational flower shows, gardens, lectures, demonstrations and workshops.
  Gower Save our Sands aims to stop the commercial removal of sand from Helwick Bank, a mile offshore from west Gower since it is destroying the landscape and wildlife habitat. You can support their campaign by visiting their site and contributing to the blog, or the fund.
  Wild About Gardens is a joint web site run by the RHS and Wildlife Trusts to give information about attracting wildlife into your garden.
There are 47 local Wildlife Trusts across the UK, Isle of Man & Alderney, working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. They are the largest UK voluntary organisation dedicated to conserving the full range of the UK's habitats and species. They manage 2,200 nature reserves covering more than 80,000 hectares, standing up for wildlife.
The Surrey Wildlife Trust manages Norbury Park Wood Products, a small sawmill and wood workshop, specialising in manufacturing high quality outdoor furniture products (e.g. benches, seats, tables, information boards, waymarkers, gates, signs, planters etc) made from English timbers using traditional joinery techniques.
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Forests and Trees
Catkins in Southern England
  Very much an international asset, trees can be described as the lungs of the earth, because they absorb CO2 from the air, lock in carbon and give out oxygen, however, the benefit to the environment is much more than that. They provide habitat for innumerable fauna and flora and protect the land from erosion. Not least of all they are beautiful and very difficult to replace. Yet man consistently destroys them.
    The Carbon Neutral Company (formerly Future Forests, conceived in 1990) aims to get people and companies to take practical action on global warming. They suggest ways of reducing carbon emissions, eg by switching to green energy, and also provide a tree planting service to enable people to become Carbon Neutral®.
    Forest Research aim to provide research services relevant to UK and international forestry interests, assisting the Forestry Commission in achieving objectives. Their core roles are to provide the evidence base for UK forestry practices and to support innovation.
    The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) aims to promote environmentally sound management of the world's forests. It's logo is a label on timber and wood products indicating that the wood comes from a well-managed forest, guaranteeing the forest complies with agreed international standards.
    The Tree Council founded in 1974 with major support from the Department of the Environment. In 1978 it became an independent registered charity with the aims to create an awareness of the value of trees and of the need for more trees and their better management.
    The Woodland Trust states it is the UK's leading conservation charity dedicated to the protection of our native woodland heritage.
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The Oceans
  The oceans cover much more of the earth's surface than land and have a great penetrable depth, no wonder then that they support an enormous variety of life forms. The constant mobility of the mass, together with their energy storage capacity, give them a crucial role in the planet's variable climate. They have a huge potential to provide clean energy but it is vastly under used. Despite their immensity, some sea species are constantly forced towards extinction.
Caretta turtle   MEDASSET is the Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles. It is the only organisation working exclusively on the conservation of sea turtles throughout the Mediterranean Sea. The adjacent thumbnail is of the threatened Caretta sea turtle (© Euronatur). To see more of the interesting work they are involved in, and the collection of beautiful items they sell to support their work, visit their site. Many of the items are limited edition, original works.
    The Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF) set up by the US government in 1998, works to halt the growing, global environmental crisis of coral reef degradation and protect, restore and sustainably use coral reef ecosystems for current and future generations. The site provides a lots of information.
    The Divine Dolphin is an inspirational site dedicated to the preservation and protection of dolphins and whales and their natural habitat, and also to enrich the connection they have with humans.
    Marine Conservation Society (MCS), a UK charity dedicated to protecting the marine environment and its wildlife, campaigns for protection of endangered species, lobbies against pollution and over-exploitation.
    The Ocean Alliance (US again) encompassing the Whale Conservation Institute and the Voyage of the Odyssey, is dedicated to the conservation of whales and their ocean environment through research and education.
    The Ocean Conservancy, US non-profit organization, promotes protection and conservation of the marine environment. It works to protect ocean ecosystems and conserve the global abundance and diversity of marine wildlife and was formerly the Center for Marine Conservation (CMC).
    Ocean Conservation Society (OCS) is a non-profit corporation engaged in marine biology research, conservation education, public awareness and the protection, conservation and management of our oceans.
    OrcaLab, founded in 1970, is a small land based whale research station in the waters of northern Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. OrcaLab believes that it is possible to study wild animals without interfering with their lives or habitat.
    Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is passionate in its aim to conserve and protect the world's marine wilderness eco-systems and wildlife species through education, investigation, documentation and principled, non-violent enforcement of laws and conventions designed to protect oceans.
    Tails for Whales is an exciting IFAW project, to raise awareness of the many threats to whales and to encourage whale protection.
    The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) states it is the world's most active charity dedicated to conservation, protection and welfare of all whales, dolphins and porpoises and their environment.
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Parks in the UK
Richmond Park Deer
Richmond Park
  There are eleven areas designated as National Parks in England and
Wales: Brecon Beacons, Broads Authority, Dartmoor, ERYRI-Snowdonia, Exmoor, Lake District, North York Moors,
Northumberland, Peak District, Pembrokeshire Coast and Yorkshire
Dales. In addition, the South Downs and New Forest are currently
being considered for designation as National Parks.
  The Association of National Park Authorities (ANPA) aims to promote the UK National Parks as models for sustainable countryside development and to increase public understanding of their purposes.
  Campaign for National Parks (CNP) is a national charity dedicated to campaigning to protect and promote all of the National Parks of England and Wales, working with a wide variety of people and organisations to take action to keep these beautiful places safe.
  The Eden Project, in Cornwall, enables you to experience environments of the tropical rainforest and the temperate climates of the Mediterranean, South Africa and California, in two huge Biomes, or conservatories: the Humid Tropics Biome and the Warm Temperate Biome.
  The Parks for People programme aims to regenerate public parks of national, regional or local heritage value for enjoyment and recreation of local people. It offers grants for projects which involve existing, public, urban or rural green spaces designed for informal recreation and enjoyment.
  The Royal Parks Agency manages Royal Parks around the London
district, providing settings for listed buildings, celebrated monuments and
sites of archaeological and historical importance. The Parks offer recreational facilities as well as providing a home to wildlife.
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Rivers and Inland Waters
Kensal Canal
Kensal canal
  Rivers are a beneficial dynamic in the earth's diverse ecology, being a major component of a global machine which distributes the life blood of the planet. They can provide enormous amounts of clean energy, at the behest of man, but the consequences may have a significant downside. Lakes, almost an accident of nature, where water is made to stand still against its nature, often provide a spectacular beauty and support a unique variety of life. Canals can be efficient in providing transport and recreation. Some are a tribute to man's ingenuity and they can also be a haven for flora and fauna.
    Canal & River Trust was set up to care for 2,000 miles of historic waterways in England and Wales. Historic canals and rivers provide a local haven for people and nature.
    The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) campaigns for conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways. A national voluntary organisation, it represents waterway users interests.
  Pond Conservation, a charity dedicated to protecting pond wildlife, give advice, carry out research, promote practical action and lobby policy makers to ensure pond wildlife and pond habitats have a secure future. They also work to protect the bio diversity of other freshwaters including rivers, streams, ditches, lakes and canals.
  The UK Rivers Network, an environmental organization campaigning on river issues, is interested in rivers and all aspects of the freshwater environment, including canals, lakes, and wetlands.
Envocare Pond Irises
Pond Irises
  The Waterways Trust, created in 1999, state they have emerged as a key force in regeneration of waterways, with a vision of the UK waterway network revitalised, valued, supported and enjoyed by all.
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Taj Mahal, a Love Story
Taj-Mahal gateway
Taj Gateway to Heaven?
  Here you can read our brief historical account of the Taj Mahal and Shah Jahan. The Taj Mahal, in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, must be one of the most magnificent and wondrous monuments created by man.The focal point of the monument is constructed in white marble extravagantly inlaid with semi-precious stones and with calligraphed verses from the Quran (Koran). The Taj' had its origins, so it is said, with one of the most romantic, but tragic, love stories of all times.
Taj Mahal Mausoleum
The Taj Mahal 'Throne'
By Brenda Shaw
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Page originated: 3 May, 2002 Last updated: 29 October, 2013
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