The RSPB and Wildlife Trusts have united to create an Act that puts our need for nature at the heart of decision-making, for our own mental and physical health and the health of our economy.
The Nature and Wellbeing Act – what it is, why we need it and how it would work
Nature underpins every aspect of our existence – it is our foundation – but across our society and economy it is still a foundation that is largely invisible and unaccounted for.
We know nature is under great pressure; we take from it to fuel our economy without giving back, and many of the worrying effects were outlined in the State of Nature report produced last year by 25 conservation organisations.
The report found that 60% of UK species we know about are in decline. Habitats are becoming more fragmented and their condition is worsening to the extent that only 37% of our best sites are in good condition.
Beyond this, our health service is in crisis and one in four of us will suffer from a mental health problem at some point in our lives. We are experiencing increasing levels of obesity and physical inactivity, yet improvements in overall health are skewed towards wealthier sections of society, causing health inequalities to increase.
Nature offers immense benefits to our mental and physical health, and this needs recognition.
In 2011, this Government laid out solutions to these heath, economic and environmental issues in its paper The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature, but policies alone aren’t sufficient. Our existing environment laws are strong, and they provide protection for our wildlife, but now we need to go further – we need recovery.
The RSPB and Wildlife Trusts are calling for a Nature and Wellbeing Act, to create the right laws now to bring about the recovery of nature for future generations.
As the 2015 General Election approaches, now is the time to influence political promises and call for commitments that last longer than five years, that set the tone for the next generation – and for generations after that.
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