New Year offers new hope. We abandon unwelcome aspects of the past and grasp new opportunities to do better in the year ahead. CEO Andy Atkins sees three opportunities for the UK to do better for natural environment in 2017.
First, on nature. The Government will publish its 25-year plan for nature. We need it to be good. UK nature is in deep trouble, according to the 2016 State Of Nature report by charities – which included A Rocha UK (pictured is the report presented by David Attenborough. Photo: RSPB). More than one in ten of 8,000 species studied could disappear from these shores. We urgently need a strong plan to reverse this, led by Government, supported by the public. That would bring hope to supporters of conservation charities.
Second, on climate change. The Government will issue a new carbon reduction plan in February. It’s urgently needed. The 2015 Paris accord agreed international targets – but countries need to cut greenhouse gases faster and deeper than current policies will deliver. The UK has strong long-term goals. But the Government’s independent advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, says we’re seriously off track to achieve them. So it’s vital that the Government has a bold plan. If so, the UK’s example will bring hope internationally.
Our third hope lies with Christians and churches. The Christian community is waking up to our biblical mandate to care for nature. Since A Rocha UK launched Eco Church a year ago, more than 400 churches have registered. More Christians demonstrating practical concern for nature in their community, and joining with others to support national action, will bring hope at all levels.
We mustn’t simply wish for progress on the UK’s natural environment in 2017. We can create hope by grasping these opportunities, praying and working together for their fulfilment.
Have a happy, hope-filled New Year!