Message to COP26

3rd November 2021

On 2 October at a pre-COP 26 environmental workshop event organised in partnership by CPRE Sussex, Sussex Wildlife Trust and Shoreham Wordfest, some 200 people from across Sussex met to consider how we can end our war on nature, live more lightly as part of our Ecosystem and respond to global warming and the Climate Emergency. This is our message from Sussex to COP26.

Work with our Earth Systems

End the War on Nature

 

We recognise the joint environmental crisis in biodiversity and climate change that threatens achievement of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals.

We, the undersigned, call on Governments at COP26 to:

  • ACT NOW to slash emissions of greenhouse gases

We must keep global average temperatures well below 1.5 degree Centigrade.  The world already faces serious problems with a 1 degree rise.

  • ACT NOW to ensure measures are in place to adapt to the impacts of the crises facing us, nature and our environment

Individuals and communities are currently ill-prepared.  Ensure the voice of communities is heard at all stages of social and economic development.  Recognise and respond to the differential impact on peoples and nations and enable everyone to benefit from decarbonisation.

  • ACT NOW to address the biodiversity crisis along with the climate crisis

This threatens the beauty and vitality of our planet and all the diverse communities of the world.  Plan to use the land so that there is space for people and nature.

In the UK we call on the British Government to take urgent action to ensure that current and planned development is sustainable, climate resilient and increasingly carbon neutral; that there is sufficient support for retrofitting existing homes and buildings.  Across the world, governments and industry rush to stimulate technological developments in responding to climate change. We now ask for our Government’s leadership in securing nature recovery and the public’s understanding of the need to make do with less and to tread more lightly on the earth.

In Sussex we welcome the commitment of many councils to respond to the climate emergency and nature recovery. Now we need their practical action and leadership in protecting green spaces, encouraging sustainable food production, bolstering only truly sustainable housing and infrastructure development and discouraging car dependency and air travel, whatever the fuel.

The golden thread running through our workshop was that we must end the war on nature.
As Professor Dasgupta said in his seminal review “our economies and well-being depend on our most precious asset: nature”.  Policy decisions must now reflect this underpinning truth.  The current presumption is that development comes first with environmental matters forced into the margins – a biased hierarchy against nature.  Following COP26 (and COP15 in China), this must be reversed.  As our most precious asset, nature must be at the top of the policy hierarchy.  Any development decision must be tested against the overriding requirements to deliver biodiversity and climate commitments.

From attendees at the Shoreham Wordfest, CPRE Sussex, Sussex Wildlife Trust event.