Welcome to my birdwatching blog. This blog will contain stories about my bird watching trips, interesting bird news and other tales that may or may not be bird related. I want to make it useful to the avid birder as well as those who may only have a passing interest in bird watching. I enjoy photographing bird life, common and rare through a spotting scope, not that they always sit still long enough for me. Being on the outskirts of North East London, my reports will not only cover my local patch of Redbridge/Waltham Forest, but also dip into deepest Essex, Suffolk, Kent and Norfolk.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Cork should float your boat

As a lot of my friends will tell you, I’m rather partial to a glass or two of wine. I can often be found scanning the shelves of Sainsbury or Tesco looking for that decent Pinot Noir or Grigio. Now this isn’t because I’m an expert on wine, far from it. What I’m looking for is a good, affordable wine that comes with a cork. It seems to me that 70% to 80% of bottles on our supermarket shelves are screw top and not cork and this has nothing to do with the environment. Retailers are understandably keen to deliver a good wine experience to their customers and screw cap bottles safeguard the old problem of a corked or tainted wine. Customers feel confident the wine they buy will be drinkable and that is what we all have come to expect. In fact, I have even noticed that less and less diners feel the need to taste the wine before pouring. That’s how confident people have become.

What has been overlooked, is the effect this has had on the cork forest industry. And here, confidence is at rock bottom.

Wine bottle corks originate in forests that covers nearly 30,000 sq km of North Africa and extensive areas of the Mediterranean including Spain and Portugal. Not only do these forests provide income for around 100,000 people, they support one of the world’s highest levels of forest biodiversity (second only to the Amazon rainforests), from plants to endangered species, including the Lynx, the Spanish Imperial Eagle, and the Barbary Deer. As well as Black-shouldered Kite (below), Corn Bunting, also, millions of North European bird species make their winter home in the cork forests.

Cork is the bark of the cork oak tree that grows back after harvesting. Its commercial usage is ecologically sound because the trees remain standing.
Cork is a natural, environmentally friendly product, By recycling cork, we reduce the amount of product going into landfills and create 'green jobs'.

Cork is renewable, sustainable, natural and environmentally friendly. CO2 emissions per 1000 stoppers: Aluminum 37.161 grams, Plastic 14.716 grams, and Cork 1.437 grams.

We are seriously in danger of losing one of the finest examples of a system that perfectly balances the needs of both humans and nature. If the forests maintain their economic value, people care for them, reducing the risk of fire and desertification.

So, next time you’re in the supermarket looking to buy a nice bottle of wine: think cork.

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