By Julia Hunt, Head of Advocacy
999… What’s your emergency?
Globally, dozens of species are going extinct every day, and shockingly 1 in 7 species in the UK are now at risk. No wonder children and students across the globe have been demanding that Governments take drastic action – and they need our help.
Across the planet, our wildlife is facing habitat fragmentation, pollution, and poorly planned developments. Meanwhile, temperatures are rising as we continue to pump out carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, trapping the sun’s rays and melting the ice caps. All this is reducing the size and quality of the spaces for nature to live, encouraging invasive species and diseases, and destabilising weather systems.
Why is that important to me?
Nature is our life-support machine. Healthy environments give us food and clean air, reduce the risk of floods and droughts, store carbon, and reducing global heating. Secondly, nature underpins our economy and all our industries by giving us renewable energy, construction materials, and viable tourism industries. Thirdly, the great outdoors is vital for our well-being. People who spend more time in nature are happier and have better mental health.
I can't overstate this: the Climate Crisis puts our lives and our livelihoods at risk. We all need to take action!
What can the Government do?
On the 20th September, millions of adults across the globe will be joining children and students to protest Government inaction on the environment and climate change. But what can the Government do?
They can pass an ambitious Environment Act which mandates Ministers to restore nature on a massive scale, set ambitious, binding targets, and map how to achieve them, backed up by a strong, independent enforcement body. This is necessary to bring back an abundance of wildlife and increase our environment’s resilience to human pressures. Existing legislation is not sufficient, and will further erode after Brexit when its vital enforcement will cease.
The Government should also set out how they will slash our carbon emissions in the next few years, and bring them to net-zero as soon as possible. The UK Government has committed to doing this by 2050, but we need them to show us a clear plan for how they’ll achieve this, and publish and stick to clear milestones so we can track their progress.
On the 14th October, the Queen’s speech will lay out the legislation that the Government plans to bring in over the next parliamentary session. This Government has committed to making us the first generation to leave the planet in a better state, and Michael Gove made some important commitments before he left his role as Environment Secretary (including a partial draft law), but this is now at risk. It is critical that this speech retains and builds on these commitments. If not, one of the UK species at risk of extinction will be us.
So, tell your family, your friends, your boss. Most of all, tell your MP. Let them know that you want them – no, that we need them – to make a big difference...before it’s too late.
For more information on the Climate Emergency, and on how to contact your local MP, click on the link below.