IWT is calling on the government to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency following the publication of the latest UN report

The Irish Wildlife Trust is calling on the government to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency following the publication of the latest UN report to warn of catastrophic consequences for humanity in the face of global mass extinction. Biodiversity loss has impacted Ireland worse than most countries with 120 species documented as having gone extinct here since the arrival of people. An average of one third of all species assessed by scientists are categorised as threatened with extinction or ‘near threatened’. Whole ecosystems have practically vanished including our forests and raised bogs. Our seas have been emptied due to overfishing and bottom trawling. Nature has all but vanished from our hills, rivers and farmland due to pesticide use, wild fires, land drainage, pollution, plantations of conifers, reseeding and artificial fertilisation of soil and neglect of our ancient hedgerow network. In effect, natural ecosystems across Ireland have collapsed.

IWT is calling on the government to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency following the publication of the latest UN reportWhat would we do in a state of emergency?

• Properly fund and administer a new independent nature conservation agency for Ireland.

• Implementation of all nature laws as well as a commitment to hold a referendum on the rights to a healthy environment in our constitution.

• Abandon agricultural intensification targets in favour of a new model based on low-carbon regenerative farming.

• End the practice of bottom trawling in Irish waters, create large and effective marine protected areas and end all overfishing by the (already legally binding) 2020 target.

• End the practice of plantation forestry and move to creating large areas of native woodland which are primarily devoted to nature as well as converting commercially-oriented plantations to ‘continuous cover forestry’.

• Mandate Bord na Mona to rehabilitate and rewild all of the bogs in their holding while the state must implement all elements of the (already agreed) Peatlands Strategy.

• Mandate the OPW to restore our river system through dam removal and floodplain regeneration.

Nature provides us with the best carbon capture and storage technology yet known. Restoring forests, peatlands, farm soils and our seas can bring enormous benefits to people as well as helping to deal with the extinction and climate crises.

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