2021 is a year of challenges and opportunities for nature in Scotland. From the Scottish Parliamentary Elections in May to November’s United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow, this year we have the chance to keep conversations around climate and nature on the agenda as we work to recover from the impacts of Covid-19.  

2021 must be a year of action to safeguard nature

Despite many wins in 2020 in Scotland, we are still failing nature. The State of Nature report showed that one in nine species is at risk of extinction from Scotland, that 49% of wild species in Scotland have declined and that issues which are driving the decline of nature such as climate change, agriculture and land-use practices, invasive non-native species and pollution and fisheries have not been sufficiently addressed by the Scottish Government.   

That’s why this year’s elections are so important. By voting in the Scottish election, this Spring we have the power to help shape policies that will safeguard people and nature; from agriculture to forestry and fisheries, land use and planning to environmental issues.  

We have already seen what can be achieved when we speak up for nature. In 2019 people of all ages came together across Scotland to demand action on the climate crisis and within just five days the Scottish Government increased its 2030 emissions reduction targets to 75%. We cannot afford to lose that momentum.  

That is why last year we partnered with WWF Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust to develop a Nature Recovery Plan with 11 Actions designed to protect our wildlife and environment and to ensure the recovery from Covid-19 creates a greener and more resilient economy. From working to expand Scotland’s native woodlands to ensuring nature plays a key part in planning decisions these goals are a route map for tackling the current crisis but they can only become a reality if candidates and parties commit to taking transformative action in the areas of food, farming, energy and planning systems. 

gif of 11 actions for nature

In the run up to the election we will be working with our partners across Scotland to provide platforms for people to connect with decision-makers, in order to ensure decisive action is taken to protect, conserve and invest in nature. Through an exciting series of blogs, events and online activities we’ll be explaining why nature-based solutions are needed to address the current crises and we’ll be diving deep into the policies which make up our Nature Recovery Plan and how you can support them.   

But the conversations won’t end there. October’s UN Biodiversity Conference and November’s COP26 in Glasgow will allow us to ensure global governments recognise the value of protecting and investing in nature. You can make sure your voice is heard by joining the Revive Our World campaign and our call for legally binding targets to restore nature by 2030. You can help us to spread the word and show your support for nature by signing up to Scottish Environment Link’s pledge to champion nature and by encouraging your 2021 Holyrood candidates to commit to doing the same over the next 5 years!  

The pandemic has shown many of us the importance of nature, from helping to improve our mental health and physical wellbeing to providing opportunities for jobs and investment. We cannot allow another decade of inaction to put nature further at risk.  

By joining the conversation and our fight to revive our world in 2021 you can help shape policies which safeguard nature for years to come. 

Check back here to read more about the 11 Actions we would like to see all political parties commit to in the 2021 Holyrood Elections:

Restoring nature and helping the climate

  • Expand Scotland's native woodlands
  • Manage deer populations effectively
  • End peatland burning and its extraction for horticulture

Recovering Nature is Scotland's big blue sea

  • Ensure sustainable, low-impact fishing 
  • Protect Scotland's seas

Protecting Scotland's iconic species

  • License driven grouse moors
  • Stop the spread of invasive non-native species

Restoring nature by supporting farming 

  • Support nature- and climate-friendly farming 

You can record how your candidates measure up against all #11Actions using our Election Scorecard, download a Quick Guide to the Nature Recovery Plan or find out more about the Nature Recovery Plan at rspb.org.uk/reviveourworldscotland.

Quick guide to the NRP.pdf