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Green Room

Mark Kinver | 15:23 UK time, Monday, 26 September 2011

This edition of Green Room looks at a number of environmental anniversaries that are being celebrated this year. It also take a peek at next year's Rio +20 summit, which aims to re-energise the global green agenda.

This year seems to a vintage year for landmark anniversaries within environmental circles.


Black-footed ferret (Image: M.Lockhart/USFWS)

For black-footed ferrets, 1981 was a very good year


Dartmoor, the UK's most south-westerly national park, is celebrating its 60th birthday this year. Since 1951, the 368 square miles of moorland, granite tors and the largest concentration of Bronze Age remains in the UK have been designated a National Park.

As well as valuable geological pedigree, the moors have one of the world's best examples of an ancient high-level oak woodland and internationally important blanket bogs.

As well as the hills often being shrouded in mist, the landscape is also shrouded in mystery and strange going-ons, with tales of hairy hands, headless hounds and haunted houses. The bleak landscape also inspired Arthur Conan Doyle's to write one of the most famous Sherlock Holmes stories, the Hound of the Baskervilles.

A number of well-known environmental campaign groups are also marking notable milestones in 2011. WWF, the conservation group, is celebrating 50 years since its formation. Half a century on from a group of scientists, business leaders and politicians setting up a group to help protect threatened species, WWF now operates in more than 100 countries and has an estimate five million members.

Greenpeace is a little younger. The NGO is 40 years old this year. It began when a group of campaigners set out from Vancouver, Canada, in September 1971 with the goal of disrupting US military nuclear tests on the Aleutian Islands, in the North Pacific. They did not complete their voyage, yet it still signalled the formation of one of the world's best known campagin groups.

Looking to a future anniversary, 2012 will see Brazil host the UN's Rio+20 summit. Twenty years on from the original Earth Summit, which many people view as the moment the world finally took environmental issues seriously, it is hoped the gathering of world leaders will offer a much-needed shot in the arm for global green policies. The summit will be focus around two main themes: green economics, and sustainable development.

Finally, three decades ago marked an important historical event - if you happen to be a black-footed ferret. For it was in 1981 that the fiesty fellows, the only native species of ferret in North America, were rediscovered. To celebrate the anniversary, the ferrets have their own website, a web cam, and you are even invited to become their facebook friend.

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