Mon 16 Nov, 2020

If we are going to reverse this alarming decline in Scotland’s nature, then parliament must declare a nature emergency this week Mark Ruskell

The Scottish Parliament must declare a nature emergency to reverse the alarming decline in species, the Scottish Greens have said.

The Scottish Greens are set to put the declaration to a vote at Holyrood which would make Scotland the first country in the world to recognise that the rapid decline of species and wildlife populations across the world constitutes an emergency.

Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history, and in Scotland one in nine species face extinction. The motion will call for a target to halt all declines by 2030, and for 30% of Scotland’s land and sea to be set aside for a nature recovery.

The call comes following multiple warnings about the rapid loss of species abundance and distribution, and habitat loss and ecosystems in decline.

A WWF report in September revealed global numbers of mammals, birds, fish and insects have fallen by two-thirds since 1970, including a drastic decline in numbers of the Arctic Skua in Orkney.

The Mammal society placed a number of Scottish species on its ‘red list’ in August, including the Wildcat, Mountain Hare, Beaver and Red Squirrel, as well as hedgehogs and species of bats and voles. 

And Scottish Government figures released in the summer reveal that the decline in nature has not slowed in Scotland in recent years. 

Commenting, Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said:

“Everyone from the UN to David Attenborough and nature organisations here in Scotland are warning that our nature is in freefall and there’s no sign of it slowing unless we take action now.

“Here in Scotland one in nine species already face extinction and instead of taking the bold action needed we’ve had years of neglect, with vested interests consistently prioritised over wildlife protection. To make matters worse, simple opportunities to improve the situation are being missed, particularly when it comes to planning laws and targeting farming subsidies.

“If we are going to reverse this alarming decline in Scotland’s nature, then parliament must declare a nature emergency this week, and commit to devote 30 per cent of Scotland’s land and sea to restoring nature by 2030.”

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