Pole to Pole is an international campaign against climate change. Zoos across Europe are taking part. The name makes you think of cold-weather species – polar bears in the North, penguins in the South – but in truth it’s about them, us and everything in between.

Take frogs, for example. Little yellow frogs on the island of Madagascar may seem a long way from the melting ice caps, but they show how everything is linked. Wayne Edwards is studying golden mantella frogs for his PhD. His work, hosted by Paignton Zoo’s Amphibian Ark conservation centre, is investigating the habitat preferences of the tiny and Critically Endangered golden mantella and how climate change might affect its survival.

Scientists are clear about the devastating effects on human well-being, the natural world and its biodiversity that global warming above 2°C will have. The Pole to Pole campaign is seeking the commitment of national governments and the European Union to measures which help keep global warming under the crucial 2°C limit, and to work towards a binding global agreement at the intergovernmental meeting on climate change in Paris in December 2015.

So scientists are doing their bit. What about the rest of us? We can help – we can turn stuff off. It’s that simple. Leaving devices like mobile ‘phones, tablets, TVs and games consoles on standby uses energy. As a continent we are pumping out about 19 million tonnes of C02 per year to make power no one uses. Altogether, standby power is responsible for about 1% of global CO2 emissions. It’s a waste of energy and a waste of money.

How much money? Well, of course it varies from home to home – but it could be 6% of your electricity bill. By switching off your energy-sucking appliances you will help the environment but also save yourself money – perhaps as much as £30 a year.

There’s a petition where you can register your contribution and make your voice heard. You can do it online or on paper; there’s a copy in Paignton Zoo’s Amphibian Ark or you can go to poletopolecampaign.org. Our presenters are encouraging people to sign during their talks around the Zoo. You can learn more through themed games on site – they really bring it home and help to change behaviours.

So sign up and pledge to Pull the Plug – for you and for the planet it’s a win-win.

By Philip Knowling, Press Officer, Paignton Zoo Environmental Park & Living Coasts.

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