There have been multiple reports out in the past month, detailing the abysmal state of nature in the UK. The government there has missed nearly every target relating to the environment over the past decade, slashed funding and mislead the public when reporting its progress. This failure does not stop at the UK – the UN reported recently that leaders around the world let a key chance to protect biodiversity slip through their collective fingers and allowed declines to continue, not acting fast enough to protect wildlife.
Just this week Boris Johnson agreed to a seemingly impressive 30% of the UK protected by 2030. But 26% of land is England is already technically protected. Loopholes, a failing legal system and a multitude of vested interested however mean that in reality only 5% of the land is currently in good state for wildlife.
There was some good news contained in these reports however. Conservation groups have saved many species from extinction, with rates estimate to have been 3-4 times higher has their action not been taken. Despite these efforts far more species have gone extinct than have been saved.
Here in Alderney it is easy to get complacent. Just because we are not visibly seeing the losses being experienced elsewhere does not mean they aren’t happening and it definitely does not mean we shouldn’t be better protecting our wildlife. Invasive species are changing such as sour fig are swamping our coastline, leading to erosion and loss of native flora. The changing climate means food plants are out of sync with other species and increasingly habitats become inhospitable. Development leads to direct habitat loss and other human factors such as pollutants add to their degradation. Pumping raw sewage and other plastic waste into our marine environment has other far-reaching effects, including the spread of antibiotic resistance.
With an election coming up there has never been a more important time to vote for candidates that truly care and want to do more for wildlife and our environment. We market the island heavily on its natural beauty, surely we owe it to our natural world to care for and protect it better than we do at present.