Ireland leading environmental groups have outlined a 10-point blueprint for election candidates to follow if they are serious about protecting nature and turning the tide on climate in the next Dail.
For Election 2020, the Environmental Pillar – a coalition of over 30 national environmental NGOs – is asking candidates to step up and take action to avert the worrying trends in biodiversity decline.
The UN recently warned that one million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction. A further report from the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London found that 60 per cent of the world’s large animals had disappeared since the 1970s.
Ireland is not immune to such impacts with one-third of our 97 wild bee species threatened with extinction. Recent findings also show that over 60 per cent of the 202 species of commonly occurring birds in Ireland are now on red and amber conservation lists.
In our manifesto, we have identified 10 critical areas for reforms that will help lead to a strong Green New Deal for Ireland to ensure a Just Transition for both our natural world and the Irish people into the new dawn of a zero-carbon world.
Our 10 point blueprint for all parties and candidates to follow are:
- Increased funding through the carbon tax to support a Green New Deal for Ireland
- Increased support for agencies and NGOs working to protect our natural world
- Creation of a unified biodiversity and climate Department under one cabinet Minister
- Commitment to support marine and freshwater biodiversity
- Transform to a low-carbon public, active and vehicle-sharing transport model
- Kick-start a circular economy revolution in line with the European Green Deal
- Reform farming and forestry for close to nature management systems, biodiversity restoration and permanent native woodland creation
- Get tough on construction industry impact on the natural world
- Ensure wide access to justice right on environmental matters
- Ensure that our borderless biodiversity on the island of Ireland is Brexit-proofed
All ten concepts are fleshed out in our manifesto available here: https://tinyurl.com/t5amxby
The Environmental Pillar is also delighted to support the One Future campaign calling for faster and fairer climate action that launched earlier this week. The campaign is encouraging people to challenge election candidates on the doorstep about their climate and biodiversity action plans.
The Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar, Karen Ciesielski, said:
“A key test for all the parties in the General Election is will they commit to protecting biodiversity and turning the tide on climate inaction. For too long, we have taken small strides when we need a giant leap forward in this critical time for the natural world and our own survival.
“Biodiversity protection and climate action should be top election issues as real, tangible investment in both areas is key to ensuring a just transition for both our natural world and the Irish people into the new dawn of a zero-carbon world.
“There is no trade off with better public services, job creation and economic opportunity here. The dawning of a Green New Deal for Ireland is all improving the public service, creating new green jobs and creating new economic opportunities in the green and circular economy of the future.
“Now is the time for politicians to step up and commit to decisive action to halt the biodiversity and climate crisis. People are ready to give nature a voice at the ballot box in two weeks’ time. They know that we don’t have another five years to wait for action. We hope our political parties feel the same way.”