How to be more activist in 2021. 7 UK petitions to sign from your sofa.
Given the events of the past year, and the current mood in the UK (in lockdown, in January, in a pandemic, oof!) now could be a good moment to channel that 'fed-up-ness' into fighting for the greater good.
There’s so much work to do, and so little time, especially when it comes to the climate crisis. We’ve rounded up EIGHT calls to action that will benefit mother nature.
From saving British bees from lethal pesticides to protecting our forests and marine areas, now is the moment to get your activist pants on - and the joy is, you don’t even need to leave the house.
Turn your activism into actionism…
Add your voice to the fight for ocean recovery with Sky Ocean Rescue & WWF.
The UK seas are an incredible, dynamic ecosystem, that provides thousands of jobs, a sustainable supply of food, thriving communities, clean energy, awe-inspiring nature and so much more.
The ocean has absorbed over 90% of heat and almost a third of all carbon dioxide that humans have ever produced. Here in the UK, our coastal ecosystems are an unsung hero in the climate and nature recovery.
What's the problem?
Right now, our once-powerful seas are being forgotten and are becoming fragile. The more carbon dioxide the ocean absorbs, the more acidic it becomes. Add to that over-fishing, pollution, coastal development and rising temperatures; the ocean is in crisis.
Current laws are failing to protect UK seas, and they are in serious trouble. In fact less than 1% of UK seas are properly protected. The ocean can be a hero, but only if we allow it to be.
What's the solution?
We need the next 10 years to be the turning point for our ocean, or we risk destroying them. We need the Government to commit this year to a 10-year strategy that will halt the devastating decline of ocean health, maximise the potential of the ocean as a climate hero and set our ocean on the path to recovery.
Add your voice to tell Environment Secretary George Eustice that you want the Government to recover UK seas.
Save the bees
Britain’s bees are in trouble. 35 UK bees species are under threat of extinction, and all species face serious threats.
The decline in bees' diversity and abundance would have a serious impact on how the natural world functions, including our crops. Bees pollinate much of the food that makes our diets healthy and tasty – from the apple in our lunchbox, to the tomatoes on our pizza.
Pesticides are one of the key threats to bees. Please ask our government to reduce pesticides and make the countryside safer for wildlife.
Stop bee-killing pesticide being reintroduced in the UK
Now we have left the EU the British government will be allowing EU banned pesticides Neonicotinoid Thiamethoxam to be used on crops.
This pesticide is lethal to bees and other pollinators which our environment desperately needs as pollinators help flora and fauna.
Bees pollinate up to 3/4 of crops which makes the use of this pesticide incredibly counter-intuitive.
Sign this petition to tell the government that this is NOT acceptable and that our environment matters!
Stop the UK from exporting its plastic waste to poorer countries
The UK currently is the second largest exporter of plastic waste to poorer countries. Since we have exited the EU, we no longer are bound by their rules. They have banned export of plastic waste from 1 January 2021 however the U.K. hasn’t. This isn’t okay - please join me in doing something about it.
I am 9 years’ old and I am learning about plastic pollution in school at the moment. I have always loved the oceans and want to be a marine biologist or ecologist when I am older. I would like to help the planet and save the beautiful fish, plants and wildlife. It makes me feel extremely sad that plastic ends up in the ocean and causes so much harm. I read about our country exporting all this plastic waste and had to do something about it! Please help me make a change.
The plastic that is exported often ends up in the ocean damaging and polluting the ecosystems of our planet. It is also burnt or ends up as landfill waste. We should be looking into sustainable alternatives to single plastic use in the U.K. and working on our own recycling capabilities. It is not okay that this is the way we behave, asking poorer countries to take our waste. We have a planet to look after together.
I have looked up some more facts: Britain exports about two-thirds of its plastic waste. In 2020 the UK shipped 7,133 metric tonnes of waste to countries including Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. This isn't fair or right - and we must stop this practice now.
Ask the UK government to double tree cover
We’re still facing a climate emergency. Trees are our natural allies against climate breakdown. They absorb carbon emissions while also providing a home for wildlife.
But over the centuries we’ve cleared our woodland, leaving the UK with some of the lowest levels of woodland in Europe.
If the government is serious about protecting the climate, it needs to bring back our lost trees.
Sign our petition to demand a government commitment to double the UK’s tree cover.
Help bring our seas back to life with Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs)
Highly Protected Marine Areas could be the ‘gold standard’ of marine protection: the first of their kind in the UK. Please show your support.
Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) would offer the strictest possible protections for the marine environment, giving nature the best chance of recovery. By removing all pressures (e.g fishing, sea angling, construction), our shallow seas, shores and diverse seabeds can become healthier, more productive and full of life once more.
In 2019 an independent panel was tasked by the Government to review how and whether HPMAs could be introduced to English waters. Over 3,000 Wildlife Trust supporters responded to the panel's consultation, backing our call for HPMA introduction.
The Government must implement the recommendations as soon as possible, and publish an ambitious HPMA delivery plan within the year.
Without HPMAs a continued decline in biodiversity is certain. We will lose the opportunity to help our seas recover, and we may never fully learn what a healthy marine environment looks like - lessons that are critical to ensuring recovery can happen across other areas at sea.
Ask your MP: Speak up for forests
2021 is the start of a vital decade for nature and our climate. Your MP can help us start the year with a big step forward by speaking up for our forests in parliament.
Over the last decade, forests like the Amazon have been lost at a devastating rate. In fact, our new report shows that in 24 deforestation hotspots, an area almost twice the size of the UK has been destroyed - in just 13 years.
This is devastating indigenous peoples and local communities, killing wildlife and making the climate crisis worse. And we know that some products sold in the UK are fuelling this destruction.
But we can make sure the next decade is different. Together, we can turn things around.
As we start 2021, new laws are going through the UK Parliament that could be a huge step forward in restoring nature, and protecting forests and other amazing habitats – here at home and around the world. If we get these laws right, we can make sure UK products are forest and nature friendly. But these laws need to be much stronger than what’s been proposed so far.
And you can help.
Your local MP can make the difference. Enter your details to send an email to your MP, asking them to speak up in the parliamentary debate in the coming weeks, and urge the Government to raise their ambition.
PS. Put Earth Day 2021 in your diary on April 22 and sign up to https://www.earthday.org/ to be part of the change.
Image credits: Markus Spiske, Matt Hardy, Arthur Brognoli, Lisa Fotios, Maël Balland, Stijn Dijkstra