Time to vote – so what is the natural choice?
The quality of our air, water, soil, and consequently our food, health and increasing prosperity all depend on the natural environment. But have we seen anything about this in the manifestos?
At the Wildlife Trust we have set up a webpage to help you Vote for Nature. We’ve suggested a few questions to ask when candidates come knocking at your door, or you go to a hustings meeting.
The same page has details of what the candidates in the Chesham & Amersham constituency are saying about nature.
What the Wildlife Trusts across the UK really want are politicians who care for the environment and are willing to speak up for nature in their constitu- encies.
In the past most political parties have been quick to say nice things about the natural environment (who would stand on a promise of environmental destruction?), but then slow to do anything to protect it.
There’s plenty of evidence showing us that when we have easy access to nature we feel better mentally and physically. This is beneficial for the NHS too, and increases our work productivity; so looking after nature is good for our economy and society.
The UK’s exit from the EU has understandably absorbed a lot of the headlines since the election was called. A lot of the coverage has been focused on how much it will cost to settle our bill before we leave. But we will be living with the consequences of the manifesto commitments made now for at least the next five years.
Just how important maintaining the natural world is, for people as much as for wildlife, has become much more apparent during the period in which the UK has been within the EU. As a consequence many of our environmental protections have developed within the EU’s framework. Making sure these protections aren’t eroded should surely be a priority for the new Parliament.
If nature is ignored there will be fewer butterflies, bees and other insects to pollinate the fruit and vegetable crops we expect to see in shops. Pollinators have no voice to ask for regulations on the use of neonicotinoids and other pesticides, as well as a diverse country- side which supports their needs.
The nation goes to the polls next Thursday. All of those standing in the Election need to be reminded that we need action to protect our natural environment.
In the new Parliamentary term the Wildlife Trusts will be asking for an Environmental Protection Act, which two parliamentary committees have already said should be put in place. But unless voters actually tell the candidates how important it is to them, wildlife will languish in the “important, but not urgent enough to bother about” category.
Please, whoever you intend to vote for, remind your candidates just how important it is that we need positive action for the natural environment to make a better future.
Read more about putting nature at the heart of the election at www.bbowt.org.uk/ vote-for-nature