We have a general election on 8th June. All citizens get a vote. Billions of other inhabitants – animals and plants – as well as the landscapes they inhabit, do not. This election matters for them, too.
Never has nature been under such threat. A 2016 study State of Nature – of which A Rocha UK was a part – showed a decline in around 50 per cent of animal and plant species in the last 40 years. One in ten of species studied were in danger of being lost from our shores altogether. Now nature is also feeling effects of climate change – disrupting migrating patterns and food availability for some species.
There are solutions. We see a glimpse of the possible with successful species reintroductions, local restoration of precious landscapes like peat bogs, growth in clean renewable energy. Yet action by governments of all major parties has been insufficient to stop general loss over the decades. As the UK leaves the EU, we face the risk of weakening our protections as we abandon EU environmental legislation.
A Rocha UK supporters will be traditional supporters of different political parties and none. Yet we’re united by a belief in the Christian mandate to care for God’s creation. This election is critical to demonstrate that.
It’s between us and God how we vote. But we can all push a healthy environment up the agenda of candidates – at hustings or on the doorstep – by asking them questions. What is their vision for restoring hard-pressed nature? Will they commit to ensuring UK environmental protections are as strong post-EU as now? Will they commit to achieving the UK’s carbon targets established by our home-grown 2008 Climate Change Act?
It’s an uncertain future on many fronts. One thing is clear. Without a credible Government vision to protect nature, and bold actions to deliver, nature’s alarming decline will continue. (Photo: Clive Price)