MORE than 35 organisations, including primary school children, have joined forces to call on the First Minister to put nature at the heart of Scotland’s post-Covid-19 recovery.
Together, they want the newly elected government to take urgent action to halt the rapid decline in Scottish wildlife and plants and to see legally binding targets by 2022 to help set Scotland’s nature on track to recovery by 2030.
The call comes ahead of COP26 in Glasgow this year and at a time when Scotland’s nature is facing grave challenges, with biodiversity here and worldwide declining faster than at any time in human history. In Scotland alone, almost half of our species (49%) have declined in numbers in the last 50 years, and one in nine is at risk of extinction. The latest findings also show that Scotland has missed 11 out of 20 of its agreed United Nations targets to sufficiently protect plants and animals.
Scottish Environment LINK, through the campaign Fight for Scotland’s Nature, successfully campaigned for new Scottish laws to replace the EU’s world-renowned environmental protections after Brexit, and says more should be done to protect Scotland’s people and nature. This week, after months of lobbying from environmental charities, the UK government also committed to amending the Environment Bill to require an additional legally-binding target for species for 2030, aiming to halt the decline of nature in England.
Deborah Long, chief officer of Scottish Environment LINK said:
“Nature is in crisis and climate change, pollution and over consumption are wreaking havoc on our planet, and spell out huge repercussions for the future.
“I welcome the UK government’s decision to amend the Environment Bill to include a legally-binding target to help halt the decline of nature. However, this target will apply to England only. The time has come for the Scottish government to commit to legally-binding targets by 2022 to help set Scotland’s nature on a path to recovery by 2030.”
Andrew Robson, headmaster at Hillhead Primary School said:
“We strive to ensure our young people are aware of the importance of looking after the environment and actively involve them in making our school more environmentally friendly.
“Sadly, despite not being responsible for causing climate change and the environmental degradation we’re seeing, they will be the ones who will bear the brunt of it. I’m very pleased to see them involved in this important initiative to help reverse the serious environmental issues we’re facing and have their voices heard.”
Deborah Long said:
“The pandemic has been tough for us all and I’m not alone in saying that never before have we noticed and appreciated our natural environment as much as we have during lockdown. Now is the time to give back to nature and ensure a sustainable post-Covid-19 recovery for Scotland. This is our chance to seize the opportunity to build a better, more prosperous Scotland that works in harmony with our natural world.
“I urge the Scottish government to put in place the important steps desperately needed to prioritise the wellbeing of people and our nature, to help ensure a healthy future for us all.”