You may have noticed that we are in the middle of a General Election campaign.

But this one feels a bit different - not just because it is taking place in autumn/winter but because of the context in which it is taking place.  And I am not talking about the fractious political debate over our future relationship with the European Union.

The headlines from every news bulletin from the past week demonstrate that we are in the middle of climate and ecological emergency.  

As the terrible floods in northern England, the Midlands and Venice, and fires in California and Australia make abundantly clear, the crisis facing our planet is no longer the stuff of prediction but of the daily news cycle, and while public and political perception of these problems is growing, the window of opportunity to address them is closing fast. 

This message was reinforced by the IPBES report earlier in the year highlighting the risk of a million species going extinct unless we transform our economies. The latest State of Nature report highlighted the parlous state of nature on our bit of the planet - the UK and our 14 overseas territories.

That's why we need politicians to compete for the best (funded) plan to tackle the emergency, to prevent climate breakdown, halt nature’s decline and put it on a path to recovery.

Turtle dove: our most rapidly declining migratory bird (Ben Andrew, rspb-images.com)

Earlier this year the Westminster Parliament declared an environment and climate emergency – now we need to see new laws that reflect the urgency of this situation. We need more than warm words. We need firm legislative commitments backed by appropriate funding for the long term.

So, through the General Election campaign, we are calling on politicians to commit to urgent action in five key areas:

  1. New laws to halt the decline in nature and put it on a path to recovery.  As we approach 2020 – a crucial year for the environment – we must also show leadership by championing similar ambition around the world.
  2. Fundamental reform of agriculture and food policy so that land managers are supported to drive nature’s recovery.
  3. We need a major recovery plan for our seas to restore our water environments and protect the unique wildlife that calls it home.
  4. Legislate for a Net Zero target of 2045 and commit to invest in nature-based solutions to climate change – including through our programme of Overseas Development Aid (ODA)
  5. Let's take the lead on the global stage by reducing our ecological footprint through reform of trade and consumption patterns

For our full Manifesto for Nature – a comprehensive programme of urgent actions to tackle the environment and climate emergency – please read here.

And if you want to help, please visit our general election pages here.

Anonymous
  • I believe Zero is unrealistic to individuals and small businesses, maybe 50% would be more acceptable.  I also think we are one of worlds leaders already.  I do see so much of people with large 4x4s just sitting in vehicles on mobiles, young mums outside schools for instance. So nit seeing the young on board yet

  • Good to see the inclusion of reforming trade and consumption patterns in the Manifesto.  We need to remember that about half of UK's apparent emissions reduction since 1990 is actually due to 'exporting our emissions' to other parts of the globe.