Green Britain: Daily Express launches campaign with Ecotricity
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Between them they represent at least eight million members – or eight times the number of people who are members of the mainstream UK political parties. Even allowing for people who join more than one group, the green constituency is huge – but often overlooked by politicians. They have been joined by industry chiefs who back the Daily Express Zero for Zero campaign to get VAT scrapped on products that will help fight climate change.
National Trust Director General Hilary McGrady said: “We are at a crossroads. It is just nine months until world leaders meet in Glasgow at COP26 to tackle the climate crisis that is devastating our natural world, home and abroad.
“Nature is in decline, homes for wildlife are vanishing before our eyes and some of our most special and significant historical places are being exposed to extreme weather events like never before.
“We can mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis though. Planting more trees and woodland, making sure our uplands and lowlands can cope with extreme rainfall – these are things that will help prevent the devastating flooding experienced by large sections of the country this year.
“From seals to songbirds, forests to fells, people are already helping our landscapes and our nature to adapt to the new extremes. But there’s so much more we can all do.
“The government has ambitious plans, but this needs to be put into action, which means passing a strong and meaningful Environment Bill. It was disappointing to see this delayed for at least six months.
“The National Trust was created 126 years ago to preserve and protect some of our most beautiful places and make sure everyone can enjoy nature and fresh air. This has never felt more relevant and remains worth fighting for, today and forever.”
Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “We face an unprecedented nature and climate emergency.
“Just fifty years go, there were over three times as many wild animals in our forests, oceans and plains as there are now.
“The highest level of atmospheric CO2 in human history is making coral reefs, forests and glaciers disappear at an alarming rate, and in Britain there is now more biodiversity in our cities than our farmland.
“But this year we have a chance to start pulling our world back from the brink. The UK – the first major economy to adopt a climate change act, the first to declare a climate emergency and the first to adopt a ‘net zero’ emissions target – is hosting the big climate talks.
“This is the year when people in Britain get their biggest chance to help solve the world’s biggest problems. And it’s good to see that the Daily Express wants to play its part.”
Tanya Steele, Chief Executive at WWF, said: “It’s great to see this important campaign from the Express.
“Global wildlife populations are plummeting, nature is in freefall and our climate is in crisis. Sadly, Britain is one of the world’s most nature depleted countries – our rivers and seas are polluted, iconic species are under threat, and vital habitats have been destroyed.
“The destruction of our precious environment at home and abroad is putting our life support system – the one place we all call home – at risk.
“If we don’t get a grip on this environmental emergency now, we can’t guarantee the future of the Amazon rainforest, the honey bee, the elephant or indeed humankind.
“But we can fix this because the solutions exist. By transforming the way we farm, do business, heat our homes and travel, and by restoring nature that has been lost, we can make our country green again, and put the planet on the path to recovery.”
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
Friends of the Earth co-executive director Miriam Turner, said: “Coronavirus has dominated our lives in recent months, throwing into sharp relief the importance of our natural world.
“Green spaces aren’t just crucial for our mental health, our physical health is closely linked with the natural world’s wellbeing too.
“Our treatment of animals, our climate and nature all make pandemics more likely. This virus has devastated people’s lives and the economy. It mustn’t happen again.
“The good news is dealing with the climate and ecological crisis together is the best route to creating jobs and a more resilient society and economy.
“With the UK hosting November’s crucial climate talks, there’s never been a more important time to build a greener Britain.
“Cleaning our polluted air, insulating heat-leaking homes, better public transport, safeguarding our countryside… these directly improve people’s lives now and in the future.
“As we look to recover from the pandemic, we must invest in a different future, and make our green and pleasant land even more green and pleasant.”
THE WILDLIFE TRUSTS
The Wildlife Trusts’ chief executive Craig Bennett said: “The UK is a nation of nature lovers – huge numbers of people watch wildlife documentaries and join nature charities. So it’s a tragedy that we also live in one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.
“That’s why we at The Wildlife Trusts are excited by the Daily Express Green Britain campaign – it’s a big vision of a better future for us all.
“A greener future is one where everyone has access to flourishing and abundant nature close to where they live. Everyone needs nature – it makes each of us happier and healthier as individuals, and that’s also true for society as a whole – particularly during lockdown.
“Wilder places reduce flood risk, protect our precious soils, help insects that pollinate our crops, lock up carbon and help to combat climate change.
“A greener land will nurture bees, barn owls, beavers and butterflies – and bring joy to our hearts.
“We at The Wildlife Trusts have exciting plans to put nature into recovery – and we’re aiming to protect 30 per cent of land for nature by 2030. We want to bring wildlife back, and we want a Greener Britain too.”
RSPB chief executive Beccy Speight said: “We are in the midst of a climate and nature crisis. Wildlife is disappearing in front of our eyes. Over 40 million birds have vanished from the UK’s skies in the last 50 years and only five per cent of the UK is well looked after for nature.
This is serious, not just because many of us find it inordinately fascinating and not just because it lifts our spirits – it’s the very foundation of life. We need nature for the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink; it stores carbon, helps us adapt to climate change and so much more.
“Scientists agree the destruction of nature has increased the risk of disease outbreaks like Covid-19.
“During a year of so much upheaval and uncertainty, many of us reconnected with the natural world. “As we emerge from the pandemic, now is the time build back greener and do what is needed to revive our world.
The RSPB is delighted to be part of the Daily Express campaign for a Green Britain. This year will be critical in our fight for nature, the climate and the planet’s future.”
THE FEDERATION OF MASTER BUILDERS
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “As the voice of small builders, the FMB’s members will be at the heart of making our homes greener, as we face the challenge of climate change together.
“We’re pleased to join the diverse range of organisations contributing to this debate, and urging leadership from Government in the run up to the UN climate conference in November.
“If we are to meet our climate targets, we must address our leaky and energy inefficient homes, which are responsible for 20 per cent of UK carbon emissions.
“It’s a huge project – but it will be transformational. We need a coordinated National Retrofit Strategy to make this happen, creating jobs, saving people money on their bills, and protecting the planet.”
BRITISH TRUST FOR ORNITHOLOGY
BTO chief executive Juliet Vickery said: “The only way of knowing whether we are making the right decisions about issues, such as how we manage our land to meet the needs of people and wildlife and our responses to climate change and biodiversity loss, is through robust long-term monitoring. “Much of the UK’s ‘gold standard’ monitoring is delivered by the British Trust for Ornithology through a partnership of citizen and professional scientists.
“The results of this monitoring work highlight that many of our bird populations are in trouble, having suffered significant declines in their populations, many of which are ongoing.
“By understanding the reasons for the declines seen, and with the right action, it may be possible to turn their fortunes around.
“Everyone can help by taking part in a BTO survey as a ‘citizen scientist’. Involving a wide range of people in the active collection of monitoring data increases their understanding of the issues, their connection with nature and the likelihood that they will take individual action.
“Remarkably, BTO volunteers have been collecting data for the last 88 years; the surveys are free to take part in and give scientists and society an incredibly detailed and accurate picture of how birds are faring right across the country.”
SOLAR ENERGY UK
Solar Energy UK chief executive Chris Hewett said: “This year Britain has an opportunity to restore its status as a global green leader.
“We are pleased to support the Green Britain Needs You campaign to call for further, faster Government action on climate change.
“Succeeding in this battle will need all options on the table. Britain must drive innovation, but also back tried and tested solutions. There is no single path to reach net zero.
“Affordable, reliable solar energy will play its part, and we urge the Government to set a target to treble existing capacity by 2030.”
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