Conservationists and politicians came together this week, in the wake of a shocking new report into the UK environment. The State of Nature report, compiled by over 50 conservation groups such as the RSPB and the National Trust, had a huge impact as it trended nationally on Twitter. Want to know the gist of it? Here are its five most important points:
— 1 in 10 UK wildlife is threatened by extinction.
— Numbers of endangered creatures have plummeted by two thirds since 1970.
— Over half of species have declined since 2002.
— Public funding for biodiversity has fallen by 32% in the last eight years alone.
— The UK is now “among the most nature-depleted countries in the world.”
The launch of the report provided an opportunity for Andrea Leadsom, the new Secretary of State for Environment, to make one of her first speeches. Previously, Leadsom has courted controversy by reportedly having to ask “if climate change was real” before being appointed to her previous post.
“Following our decision to leave the EU, we now have a unique opportunity to develop a set of policies tailored to the needs of the United Kingdom, our species, and our habitats,” she said. “We have truly ambitious plans to transform our approach to the environment.”
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David Attenborough agreed that we now have a huge opportunity to act in defence of nature.
“The report is very important. Our wonderful nature is in serious trouble and it needs our help as never before,” he said. “This document produces facts and figures. We are living at a time of climate change so we need to know what is happening to wildlife. It gives us a huge opportunity. I hope we can take it.”
Caroline Lucas, new co-leader of the Green Party, spoke out on Leadsom’s speech:
Today I went to launch of #stateofnature. The findings are startling, & the need for action couldn't be greater pic.twitter.com/yW7hum6Smo— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) September 14, 2016
Clearly, the insights into the report are staggering. Leadsom’s intention to create a 25-year plan is a step in the right direction, but we need precise goals to combat the huge declines in wildlife that have resulted from industrialisation and climate change.
“The ability to do it is within our grasp, it is just about resources and the willingness,” said Mark Eaton, who headed up the report.
However, he clarifies that there’s certainly a strong case to be made for optimism.
“The State of Nature 2016 report gives us cause for hope too. Landscapes are being restored, special places defended, struggling species being saved and brought back. But we need to build significantly on this progress if we are to provide a bright future for nature and for people,” Eaton said.
So what can we do? Spread the word, tell your friends, take action. UK wildlife needs your help to survive.
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