On Friday the 18th of November, Lord Redesdale chaired a parliamentary roundtable attended by representatives from a variety of nature, business and grassroots organisations to launch Zero Hour’s new campaign, #UnitedForNature. The launch was in two parts and kicked off online where youth campaigner and birder Dr Mya-Rose Craig (also known as Birdgirl) helped us initiate the campaign with an e-petition calling on the Prime Minister to reverse nature’s decline by 2030.
Attendees of the parliamentary roundtable in front of the House of Lords.
Central to the launch was it coinciding with the Climate and Ecology Bill’s committee stage in the House of Lords, where Lord Redesdale took the opportunity to focus on the Nature Target in the Bill in the lead up to the UN biodiversity summit (COP15) taking place this month in Montreal, Canada. In the debate Redesdale questioned a Government Minister—if internationally at COP15 the UK is calling for nature loss to be halted and reversed by 2030, why aren’t we doing the same at home?
During the roundtable, Professor Joe Bull (University of Oxford) explained the importance of nature positivity, that is, the idea that the government should be proactively setting the ambitious, albeit viable, goal of achieving nature recovery in absolute terms by 2030, using 2020 as a baseline to measure its recovery.
To reverse the damage to nature within the UK, the government must put legally-binding and expert-led plans in place to bring back species that are on the brink of extinction and to significantly expand natural habitats in a way that works with communities across the country. To have the best chance of achieving this, we must bring together people who hold different views on nature by, for example, talking about the overall social, economic and cultural benefits and opportunities that come with reversing nature loss.
For this very reason, it was particularly meaningful that the launch of the United for Nature campaign included representatives from many NGOs, grassroots organisations, and sustainable business. The campaign received an enthusiastic response from leaders of faith and community-building organisations working at the grassroots level for humanitarian and environmental causes. It made an important statement that, as the culturally diverse country that we are, for the launch of the campaign we really did stand United for Nature.
Left: Chair of the roundtable Lord Redesdale, Zero Hour Campaign Manager, Oliver Sidorczuk, Fadi Itani OBE (Muslim Charities Forum), and Char Love (Natura & Co). Right: Attendees of the parliamentary roundtable discussing the importance of nature.
All of the roundtable participants spoke passionately about their grassroots work which often involves environmental education and experiential learning in the natural world. Talk also turned to corporate responsibility and the role the government can play in setting regulations that help businesses to do what’s beneficial for the entire country, people and nature. The representatives from community groups expressed a keen interest in engaging communities with this campaign, especially children and young people, and we look forward to further collaborating with them in the coming months.
The overall sentiment during the roundtable was that communities care deeply about being surrounded by a healthy and vibrant natural world. There was a palpable passion for restoring nature and awareness that we just cannot do without it. When nature thrives, our communities thrive too.
Left: Shosha Adie (Haymarket Media Group), Ketan Jha (Lawyers for Nature), Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg (EcoSynagogue), and Ron Bailey (Zero Hour). Right: Daxa Shah (Brahma Kumaris), Luzita Ball (IFEES/EcoIslam), and Hanuman Dass (Go Dharmic).
How to Get Involved?
Grassroots lobbying by communities across the UK will be essential to call on the Government to reverse nature loss by 2030 – a last chance target to protect nature in the UK.
In under two weeks Zero Hour’s United for Nature e-petition has almost 5,000 signatures. Can you help us reach 5,000 and beyond by signing the petition and encouraging your family and friends to do the same?
Zero Hour’s plans for 2023 include a deeper engagement with faith and community groups across the country. Would you like to learn more about our grassroots plans? Sign up to our newsletter to receive future updates from Zero Hour or get in touch at [email protected].
For more on Zero Hour’s United for Nature Campaign please read here.
A special thank you to all of our roundtable attendees representing the following organisations: A Rocha UK, Anglia Ruskin University, Brahma Kumaris, CPRE, EcoSynagogue, Faith for the Climate, Forum for the Future Kenya, Froglife, IFEES/EcoIslam, Go Dharmic, Haymarket Media Group, Lawyers for Nature, Muslim Charities Forum, Natura & Co, Pollination, St Mary’s Eco Church, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and also Professor Joe Bull (University of Oxford) and Dr Paul Behrens (Leiden University).