By Henri Brocklebank
Director of Conservation
Whatever your view of the opportunities and threats posed by Brexit we are now in a situation where the UK can take part in the European elections on 23 May. And whatever we may feel about Brexit, there are certainly far bigger issues that must be addressed and maybe these elections could send a message via our elected representatives.
Several thousand scientists in the IPCC are telling us that we need to take emergency action to address climate breakdown. And several hundred scientists in the IPBES say we need to take even more urgent transformative action to address biodiversity loss and ecosystem breakdown. Current environmental trends are largely going in the wrong direction, and the speed of decline is accelerating. These are now the overriding political issues. This places a huge responsibility on our own National government, and also requires highly effective international action to drive change at a global level. Our relationship with the EU, whatever that is in the future, is a vital part of this.
The UK, and the EU, must become world leaders in the environment by at least matching but preferable way exceeding current environment, habitat and wildlife protections. We must lead on climate change with a rapid transition to a zero-carbon economy (without the “creative accountancy” that excludes some of the worst emissions from the calculations!). We should create a countryside richer in nature with large scale restoration of ecosystems across the landscape by supporting farmers and landowners to deliver environmental benefits alongside a thriving farming sector. Inevitably an international issue, we must also radically revitalise our seas through innovative and sustainable marine and fisheries management.
On 23 May we have the opportunity to press our elected representatives on these, the most important issues of our time, and demand that all efforts are made to promote them at an international level - for as long they may sit in the European Parliament.
Find out what the different parties are pledging for our environment, wildlife and our quality of life. Your vote counts – so use it!