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Environmental protection - a luxury we can no longer afford?

As the International Year of Biodiversity comes to an end and the Nagoya biodiversity summit comes to a close, several partners in Wales came together at the Senedd on Tuesday evening (9 November) to listen to the Minister for the Environment, Sustainability and Housing, Jane Davidson, emphasise the need to protect our biodiversity in Wales, despite the pressures of the current economic climate.

 

Biodiversity is a fundamental part of the Earth’s life support systems and sustains many of our basic human needs for food, air, fertile soil and even furniture. We all rely on biodiversity and therefore it’s ironic that we’re also the greatest threat to it. This year – International Year of Biodiversity 2010 - a number of organisations in Wales have come together to help others understand biodiversity and how it works in order that we can all make the right decisions on how to sustain it.

 

Together, the partnership created a video which was shown at the event on Tuesday evening. It included interviews with members of the general public, which illustrated that although people associate biodiversity with nature, its vital importance isn’t recognised. When asked What does biodiversity mean to you? responses ranged from ‘is it a band?’ to ‘it’s everything around you.’

 

“It is worrying that many people still seem to lack a clear understanding of what biodiversity is, how it matters and the benefits that are derived from it,” said Jane Davidson.

 

“People are under the impression that the actions that lead to biodiversity loss take place in other areas in the world. This may be down to the emphasis given to it being a global issue, which makes people think that it’s a problem that does not affect them personally.”

 

It was stressed that everyone needs to continue their efforts to raise the profile of biodiversity in Wales. What the Wales Biodiversity Partnership and other organisations are aiming to do is to help people understand the value and benefits that biodiversity gives them in being able to live and enjoy their everyday lives. This, they hope, will lead us all to be more willing to protect it.

 

The links between the Welsh natural environment and the Welsh economy were also raised by the Minister and Jonathan Jones, Director, Tourism and Marketing, Visit Wales:

 

“70% of visitors to Wales choose to come because of the landscape and natural environment,” said Mr Jones. “However, it’s important that the government doesn’t go after the money alone. Too many people can actually destroy the natural environment.”

 

The European Union targets to stop the loss of biodiversity weren’t met by 2010. The Minister concluded with the message that we need to set ourselves ambitious, achievable and realistic targets for 2020, ones which can be implemented locally and on a global scale.

 

- Ends -

 

For further information, please contact:

Catrin Mears, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales on 029 2057 3185 or email: catrin.mears@museumwales.ac.uk.

 

Notes to Editors:

 

The event was arranged by a partnership of organisations from across Wales who are active in preserving biodiversity: Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, Ancient Tree Hunt/Woodland Trust, BBC Cymru, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Cardiff Council, Cardiff University and The Darwin Centre, Coed Cymru, Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales, Flat Holm Island/Bay Wetlands, Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, National Botanic Garden of Wales, Natur Cymru, Open University, RSPB Cymru, Sea Trust, SEWBReC, Swansea Council, Swansea University, Wales Biodiversity Partnership, The Wales Gene Park, Wildlife Trusts Wales.

 

Many of the organisations involved in the drive in Wales are also part of the UK-wide membership based partnership. They hope to help people better understand the issues and learn about some of the success stories that indicate a way forward that can make a difference. For information on how to get involved, or to find out about UK events during the International Year of Biodiversity, log on to www.biodiversityislife.net.

 

Date: 12 November 2010
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