Today the European Parliament joined EU Environment Ministers and over half a million of Europeans in speaking up to defend the Nature Directives, the vital laws that protect our nature. (A reminder of why the vote was important for the Nature Directives here and our habitats and wildlife here.)
Over the last 3 weeks you've collectively sent over 16,900 messages to your MEPs, reaching every constituency and party. Thank you for keeping on the pressure! Your letters were personal and heartfelt, and they got noticed.
Thanks to the responses you sent on to us, we had a fair idea ahead of today which way MEPs from each UK party might vote, but by no means enough responses to work out if we had a UK majority, let alone one across the EU.
Well, the result was met with much cheering in the office. Watching the live stream, I just about captured this screenshot of the voting results as they flashed up – as you can see from the sea of green dots, the report passed with a huge majority and support from every EU political group!
There was a debate on the report before this afternoon's vote, which I watched online, thanks to the European Parliament's live streaming service. It was a first for me; I’ve never watched any of the Parliament’s business before and it was clear how much they had already covered on both days whilst I was waiting for the sections I was keen to listen to. After a very long day of similar debates, 16 MEPs from across Europe and the political spectrum took to the floor. The used their short speeches to defend the Natures Directives and call for them to be properly put into practice, not changed. Almost every one also mentioned the huge volume of public support for nature protection, and that's thanks to your efforts this year and last in standing with us to defend nature!
Thank you. Together we’ve secured some really strong political backing for these laws, but the results of the evidence-based review of the Nature Directives are still to be announced. The draft conclusions demonstrated the clear weight of evidence that they work and need to be properly put into practice. We’ll be keeping up the pressure on the European Commission until these laws are safe.
As always, you can find the latest on the campaign at www.rspb.org.uk/DefendNature.
Since May last year, we’ve been campaigning to save the EU Nature Directives – vital laws that protect our most vulnerable wildlife and places – from being weakened as they undergo a review.
Our campaigning is working: we’ve made huge progress and the language being used by UK and European politicians is shifting increasingly away from opening or ‘merging’ (political code for weakening) these crucial laws and towards putting them into practice properly instead. That’s thanks to your support, and that of thousands like you across the rest of Europe.
But we've not won yet. The EU's review of the Nature Directives is still in progress, but for the first time our MEPs have an opportunity to speak up and defend the laws that protect our nature with us. It's time to ask them to officially support the EU Nature Directives.
In the first week of February at their next regular voting session, MEPs will debate and vote on a key report on what still needs to be done to halt and reverse the loss of our wildlife by 2020. The evidence shows clearly that the Nature Directives are our most effective tool to do that, and without them any chance of meeting the 2020 target would be scuppered. The report, prepared by the cross-Party Environment Committee, opposes changes to the Nature Directives for this reason.
A crucial moment to send a message
The vote is a chance for the whole Parliament to make a crystal clear statement in support of the laws that protect nature by adopting the report as their official position.
We want to make sure our UK MEPs know we’d like to see them defend nature. Over 100,500 UK citizens spoke up for the Nature Directives in the European Commission’s consultation last year, and our MEPs are our elected representatives in Europe.
Email your MEP and urge them to vote to adopt the report as the Parliament’s official position
We've already come a long way
Achieving the biggest ever response to an EU consultation last summer (more than half a million European citizens responded!) made a big impact on European politicians and policy-makers. Before Christmas we wrote to our MPs backing UK Environment Minister Rory Stewart to defend nature too, and it clearly had a positive impact. The actions we took as individuals joined those of thousands of other people across the continent. Together we’ve already secured support for the Nature Directives from:
So let's get our MEPs, who represent us, to speak up and defend nature too!
Catch up on the story of the campaign:The Defend Nature campaign web pagePrevious Defend Nature blogs
As we approach the weekend of global climate marches, and the crucial climate conference that will take place afterwards, our thoughts are with all those affected by the horrific attacks in Paris.
Whilst the huge march planned for Paris on Sunday 29 November will no longer go ahead, the French Government have committed to the conference itself proceeding. The marches planned for cities around the world, including London and Edinburgh, will also continue, and the organisers are working closely with the authorities to help make them a success.
We will be present in Edinburgh on Saturday 28, and London on Sunday 29 November, and we do hope you will join us.
We know climate change will impact all our lives if the Governments of the world fail to stand together and formulate a global deal to tackle it. It is already having an impact on Europe’s wildlife, as seen in the latest RSPB report.
The thing is, there are solutions to tackling climate change: like moving to a low-carbon future based on renewable energy production (located with wildlife in mind), and restoring damaged peat bogs which can then lock-away huge amounts of carbon. But we need to act now, we need Governments to act now and we all need to remind them why it is so important.
So please, do consider joining us in Edinburgh or London. The people of Paris may not be able to march but we can march for them, and in solidarity with them. Join us and help make history at the biggest global climate march ever.
All the information you need is below. Sign up or just turn up, bring your friends, bring your family. Let’s make it a weekend to remember!
Date and Time: Saturday 28 November. Gather from 12 noon. The march will begin at 12.30pm
Start Location: The Meadows
Route: Up Middle Meadow Walk, along Forest Road, over George IV bridge, down the Mound and finishing in Princes Gardens
Rally: Once the march reaches Princes Gardens the rally will kick off at the Ross Bandstand
Date and Time: Sunday 29 November. Gather from 12 noon. The march will begin at 1pm
Start Location: Park Lane – the southbound side. The RSPB will be in Block B which will form just north of Curzon Street. The closest tube station is Hyde Park Corner. Just look out for the giant RSPB balloons!
Route: Through Central London and finishing at Millbank, near Westminster, for a rally to celebrate the day.
Rally: 2.45pm – 3.45pm
To change everything, we need everyone.