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Ralf Jurrien : April 17th 2007 - 14:21 CET

National Trust climate change exhibition

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NewsNational Trust climate change exhibition : Climate change is constantly making headlines and governments all over the world are being pressured to introduce policies to slow down its effects. But what are the likely impacts of climate change on daily life in Britain and what are its wide-ranging and often surprising effects? The National Trust has challenged ten of the UK’s top photographers to capture this story on film. Over the past year they have been on location, visiting the Trust’s historic houses, gardens, countryside and coastline - and talking to the people who care for these special places. The result is a stunning new photographic exhibition, Exposed: Climate Change in Britain’s Backyard.
National Trust climate change exhibitionClimate Change in Britain’s backyard
Opening in London at Hoopers Gallery on 12 April 2007, Exposed: Climate Change in Britain’s Backyard is a collection of ninety full colour images that show how, in countless, and often unexpected ways, climate change is affecting the country we live in. From innocent spring flowers emerging early and animals being spotted in unexpected places, to overflowing gutters causing damp, antique treasures ruined by invading pests and severe storms posing sudden danger, the range of featured impacts is enormous. The exhibition also explores how the National Trust is rising to this new challenge, adapting the way it works to combat the effects of our changing climate and trying to reduce its own environmental footprint.

Climate change exhibition - Photography
The National Trust has commissioned famous photographers, Joe Cornish, Paul Wakefield, David Nixon, Stephen Robson, Andrew Butler, Paul Harris and David Noton to capture the effect climate change is already having on our natural and cultural heritage in spectacular images from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Magnum photographers Ian Berry, Stuart Franklin, Mark Power and Chris Steele-Perkins have used Magnum’s distinctive reportage style to reflect the delicate relationship that our homes, countryside, gardens and coast have with climate change. Featured among the images are the devastating effects pests are having on treasured collections at Standen in West Sussex, drought conditions being felt in gardens like Lyveden New Bield in Northamptonshire, spectacular storms crashing over Cornwall, snow retreating on Snowdonia and wildlife under threat from rising sea levels at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

Ed Ikin about climate change
“Gardens are really suffering from the intense summer heat, even here in the South East. It could mean we have to look at changing our planting, we are being as resourceful as we can. We harvest about 11,000 gallons of rainwater during wetter seasons off the roofs of the glasshouses and we are looking to double this amount. We are also trying to grow tougher plants which look after themselves and are more resistant to climate change,” Ed Ikin, Head Gardener at Nymans Garden, West Sussex.

Sarah Norcross-Robinson about climate change
“We’re looking for new environmentally friendly ways of dealing with pests. We don’t get the harsh frosts like we used to, so pests like silverfish, deathwatch beetle and clothes moths are thriving and causing damage to priceless wooden furniture, woollen antique clothing and valuable paintings,” Sarah Norcross-Robinson, East of England Conservator. “These are 18th century houses built to handle 18th century weather patterns. The guttering just can’t handle the sudden bursts of heavy rain we’re now getting,” Sarah Staniforth, Head of Historic Properties.

Ian Wright about climate change
“Many plants that have never been seen outside Cornwall are now growing in places like Dorset. I even received a letter form a lady in the Midlands who was growing tropical species similar to those at Trengwainton, and they were flowering even up there,” Ian Wright, Head Gardener at Trengwainton, Cornwall.

Andrew Poad about climate change
“During summer 2006 it was desert conditions. Nothing for the animals to eat, everything was burnt off. The cattle have always come here but if we continue to have hot summers like this one we will have to ask whether we can maintain native breeds,” Andrew Poad, Property Manager Broomlee Lough, Northumberland.

National Trust climate change exhibition
A series of talks, workshops and events linked to Exposed: Climate Change in Britain’s Backyard will take place throughout the exhibition period. On Wednesday 28 March 2007 there will be an evening debate about climate change - free to the public - at the Royal Geographical Society on Exhibition Road, London. Rosie Boycott will chair and the panel will feature Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust and Julia Hailes, author of the New Green Consumer Guide. Sky Arts, Sky channel 267, is the media partner for the exhibition and will be broadcasting a programme throughout March, April and May on the exhibition featuring stories from National Trust employees dealing with the impact of Climate Change at National Trust sites.

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