Creswell Crags is proud to announce it has become an official member of the Global Coalition #UnitedforBiodiversity. An initiative of the European Commission, the Coalition calls on all world museums, zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens, national parks and protected areas, research centres and universities to join forces to raise awareness about the nature crisis, at a time one million species are at risk of extinction.

European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said: All species, from bacteria to mammals, plants to insects, are pieces of the big puzzle of life. They are all connected and depend on each other. Yet one species, our species, is now responsible for the climate crisis and the nature crisis, causing massive biodiversity loss. By destroying Earth ecosystems, we humans are jeopardizing our food, our health, our economy and our own future.

World botanic gardens, zoos, parks, museums, research centers and aquariums show us what we need to protect and restore on this planet. We urgently need to take action, at all levels, from local to global, otherwise, our only chance of seeing nature is in these institutions.That would be a failure of humankind. It is time for us to reconnect with nature.”

Creswell Crags is delighted to become part of this movement, adding its voice to more than 300 institutions and organisations from 51 countries. By signing the Coalition pledge, we all urge world leaders to agree on ambitious measures at the 15th Conference of the Parties (CoP15) of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to be hosted by China in autumn 2021.

Creswell Crags 60,000 years ago

Creswell Crags is in an ideal position to talk about biodiversity. The limestone gorge boasts caves from which have been excavated thousands of palaeontological and archaeological finds from the Quaternary. The Quaternary began 2.6 million years ago, and spans a period of glacial (cold) and interglacial (warm) cycles up to the present day. It encompasses much of human evolution and the associated changes in technology and society. Many of the Creswell Crags finds are located within the museum’s collections store, and some are displayed in the permanent exhibition.

Reindeer Jaw in found at Creswell Crags

With the earliest remains of animals that lived in the gorge and caves dating back to the last interglacial period, 125,000 years ago, and further fauna from the subsequent glacial, and the current interglacial period, we can discuss how past climatic changes influenced biodiversity within Creswell Crags, and wider Britain. This includes migrations, interactions between species, and extinctions. We can also contrast the past to the present and discuss how past climatic changes are different to the human-influenced climatic changes seen today. Further, the caves at Creswell Crags have yielded evidence of two hominin species: Neanderthals and early modern humans. We can therefore contrast the behaviour of hominins in the past to the behaviour of humans today, including impacts upon the environment and biodiversity.

The palaeontology and archaeology are not the only avenues through which Creswell Crags can make its voice heard on the subject of biodiversity; the site itself offers the chance for further exploration. With numerous environments (caves, rock faces, a lake, stream, pond, meadow, woodland, and more), visitors are met with various species of birds, mammals and insects, not to mention the plants. The site is carefully managed to protect and conserve individual species, ecosystems, and ultimately biodiversity.

The Gorge at Creswell Crags

Overall, the combination of a diverse range of ecosystems, and the evidence of thousands of years of past life, allow Creswell Crags to frame the conversation about past, present and future biodiversity in varied and engaging ways.

Dr Angharad Jones, Curator at Creswell Crags said: “Joining the Global Coalition is an important step for Creswell Crags. It allows us to communicate how palaeontology and other past environmental research is relevant to today, by discussing the similarities and differences between past and present impacts upon biodiversity.”

Creswell Crags will continue to find ways to communicate this message to visitors and online audiences. The organisation also officially declared a Climate Emergency in 2020, and is part of the Greener Museums project, further emphasising its focus on protecting our environment into the future.

We are stronger together – Creswell Crags calls on all its partners in UK and beyond to speak up for nature by endorsing the Coalition’s common pledge and join the movement.

Flora at Creswell Crags today

More details on the Coalition webpage, interested institutions can contact gilles.doignon@ec.europa.eu

https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/coalition/index_en.htm

You can learn more about the Coalition, including the importance of biodiversity and the CoP15 on social media by following the hashtags #UnitedforBiodiversity #CoP15 & #ForNature

The Pledge