Television presenter Iolo Williams is supporting the Wildlife Trusts in Wales in a campaign to put nature on the political agenda.
With the Welsh elections looming, the Wildlife Trusts in Wales is asking political parties to commit to protecting nature for future generations.
Iolo Williams, who acts as ambassador for Wildlife Trusts Wales, says:
“To help achieve nature’s recovery, we need to put nature at the heart of decision-making, in government, in our healthcare system, housing and developments, education, the economy and flood resilience.
“We want to create local and national ecological networks to put wildlife habitats back into the landscape and help save threatened species and our wildest places before it’s too late. By creating more natural places near people, we can give wildlife the habitat it needs too. Every political party should take our need for nature seriously and help create positive change.”
The Wildlife Trusts in Wales have produced a manifesto document called Nature Matters which explains how nature improves health and wellbeing and also acts as a catalyst for economic growth. The document asks political parties to provide the leadership and resources needed for nature’s recovery and better infrastructure in order to do this. It asks political parties to consider the following proposals:
1. Nature in recovery
Set new targets to reverse the loss of wildlife and raise the nature baseline. We are calling for the restoration of our most precious nature reserves to a favourable condition by 2026 and to increase wildlife by 15% by 2050.
2. Nature at the centre of government
Welsh Government must fully integrate nature into its decision-making and a new Biodiversity Commission should be appointed to oversee this.
3. Nature, healthcare and wellbeing
By 2018, at least 1% of the public health budget should be used to make access to nature and wild places part of preventative and treatment-based healthcare.
4. Nature within walking distance
Create natural spaces no more than 10 minutes’ walk from where people live. Those with close access to green space live longer than those without.
5. Nature in schools
Amended the Education Act 2002 to make outdoor learning and caring for nature a key purpose for all schools in Wales as it can positively affect children's development.
6. Nature in neighbourhoods
Map, protect and create areas for nature via local planning and area statements. A wild place for nature and people in every neighbourhood should be a realistic ambition.
Rachel Sharp, Chief Executive Officer for Wildlife Trusts Wales, says:
“Nature is fading away from our lives; 60% of the species we know about are in decline and fewer than 10% of children regularly play in wild places. The results of our recent poll illustrate that some children are missing out on the contact with nature their parents and grandparents are likely to have known.
“Our health and wellbeing is increasingly at risk from problems such as obesity and mental illness and the loss of wildlife and wild places is part of the problem.
“We are asking politicians how they intend to stop the loss of nature from all of our lives and we need answers.”
The Wildlife Trusts in Wales is asking its supporters to speak to their local prospective Assembly Members about the importance of nature and to share the campaign using social media. The hashtag for the campaign is #naturematterscymru
Visit http://www.wtwales.org/voice-nature/nature-matters to read the manifesto asks document or request a copy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
In a recent poll by YouGov, commissioned by The Wildlife Trusts, results showed that...
• 91% of parents think that having access to nature and wildlife is important for children in general
• 78% were concerned that children don't spend enough time interacting with nature and wildlife
• Over a quarter (27%) of children aged 8-15 had never played outside by themselves, beyond their house or garden – and 37% hadn’t done this in the past 6 months.
• 37% of children had never seen a hedgehog in the UK
• Only 24% of children said their school had an indoor nature display area like a nature table
Find out more by downloading the report.