Youth delegation demands climate action

World Environment Day

Youth stars, broadcasters and climate experts are demanding a new, serious and science-led environmental law. To highlight World Environment Day a youth delegation has personally delivered an urgent call for action to 10 Downing Street. Fronted by Mya-Rose ‘Birdgirl’ Craig (pictured) and supported by broadcasters Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Dr George McGavin they are demanding that the UK government urgently enact the Climate & Ecology Bill.

The CE Bill establishes a framework for the UK Government to match its international environmental ambition with domestic action. It requires Ministers to meet new climate and nature targets—linked to the Paris Agreement (1.5°C) limit, and the Montreal Agreement nature plan—delivering a comprehensive, joined-up approach to rapidly transition away from fossil fuel dependency, and reverse the destruction of nature by 2030.

The Bill has three key focuses: (1) climate: doing our fair share to cut UK emissions in line with our last, best chance to stay below 1.5°C of global heating by taking full responsibility for our global carbon footprint, (2) nature: halting and reversing UK nature loss by 2030, taking full responsibility for our global ecological footprint, and (3) people: involving the public in a fair way forward through a ‘Climate & Nature Assembly’ to consult on the climate-nature strategy.

Over 15,000 members of the public from across the UK nations are also standing “United For Nature”—backing Birdgirl’s public petition—which is also supported by major NGOs and businesses, including The Co-operative Bank, Friends of the Earth, and UK Youth For Nature.

The UK is now one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, having lost over half of its nature (which is above the global average). NGOs are warning that the targets in existing legislation, the Environment Act 2021, could see the UK’s natural world in a worse state in the decades ahead than they are today. 

Tori Tsui (climate justice activist), Sam Bentley (influencer and sustainable living campaigner); Ellen Bradley (UK Youth for Nature co-director), Noama Chaudhry (Friends of the Earth mentor), Ursula Guy (young nature-friendly farmer) and Alaan Ali (The Co-operative Bank trainee) made up the youth delegation to No. 10—representing the farming, business, and NGO sectors—and were joined at No. 10 by cross-party MPs, including Caroline Lucas (Green), Daisy Cooper (Lib Dem Deputy Leader), Colum Eastwood (SDLP Leader), and Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Labour).

The lead petitioner, UK Youth For Nature director, Ellen Bradley, said: “This is the last call for UK nature. With the catastrophic situation of sewage in our rivers, vanishing wildlife, and polluted air, we need bold, new legislation—the Climate & Ecology Bill—to make sure we stop tinkering around at the edges, and achieve the transformational changes we need to restore our natural world. The Government has already agreed to reverse nature loss by 2030 at the UN biodiversity summit, COP15—and now we need the Prime Minister to agree to lock this target into national legislation by enacting the Climate & Ecology Bill.”

Brighton Pavilion’s Green MP, and former Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, said: “Halting and reversing nature’s decline is essential, with huge benefits—not only for our natural world and our climate—but also improving our health, supporting the economy, and creating thousands of skilled jobs to regenerate local communities. The Climate & Ecology Bill, which I first introduced into Parliament in 2020 and have championed ever since, is the critical framework we need in place, now, to keep 1.5°C alive, and protect our precious natural world —before it’s too late”.

Dr Amy McDonnell, co-director of Zero Hour, said: “We need a holistic approach to restore nature, but, currently, we’re reliant upon a dizzying range of disjointed and conflicting laws and policies. The Climate & Ecology Bill offers a viable, joined-up strategy to put the UK on a clear path to recover Britain’s rivers, wildlife, and depleted countryside. This isn’t about a ‘nice to have,’ nature is all we have. We need healthy, resilient, and diverse ecosystems for our food security, and to provide us with the best protection against the impacts of climate change. No more paper thin promises, now is the time for transformational change.”

Nick Slape, CEO of The Co-operative Bank said: “At The Co-operative Bank, we believe that businesses must play their part in enhancing biodiversity and protecting our planet against the climate-nature crisis. As an ambassador of Zero Hour and the Climate & Ecology Bill, we’re proud to support the United For Nature petition. This urgent petition calls for the implementation of a legally-binding target for the reversal of nature loss by 2030—which is critical for our planet, people, and communities.”

Dr Mya-Rose Craig, Zero Hour ambassador, ornithologist, and campaigner, said: “It’s ridiculous that the UK Government pretends to be a ‘world leader’ on the environment, when 30 million birds have vanished from our skies in the last 50 years; 97% of wildflower meadows have been eradicated since the 1930s; and a quarter of all mammals are at risk of extinction. You’d think this would send alarm bells ringing with Ministers—but it isn’t. I’m asking the Prime Minister to deliver the ‘nature positive future’ he’s promised by backing the Climate & Ecology Bill. The public are sick and tired of paper thin promises. It’s time to save our precious natural world.” 

Dr George McGavin, entomologist, broadcaster, and United For Nature champion, said: “We depend on nature, but it can no longer supply us with the goods and services we rely on, as we’ve taken more than the biosphere can provide. The Climate & Ecology Bill is the only proposed legislation before the UK Parliament that would deliver a comprehensive, joined-up approach to deal with the dreadful reality of what’s now just around the corner—climate and ecological breakdown.”

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