A Blog Thought Piece For World Environment Day 2020
By Nigel Sagar CEng CEnv MICE MIEMA, Senior Environmental Compliance Manager at Skanska
On the back of recent alarming reports on the declines in UK and global biodiversity, such as the UK State of Nature or the WWF Living Planet Reports, the issue of how to halt the decline and actually start to improve outcomes for biodiversity has never been more pertinent.
In what will hopefully prove to be a momentous year for biodiversity, with the progress of the Environment and Agriculture Bills through UK Government as well as the (now postponed) Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 conference, United Nations World Environment Day on 5th June serves as the first big event of the year to highlight this global issue.
Biodiversity provides us with an opportunity to not only mitigate our own work related impacts, but also leave behind a positive legacy for wider society through positive natural capital benefits such as flood prevention and cleaner air. Our food crops depend on our pollinator species, our timber is sourced from sustainably managed forests, our affordable and accessible clean water heavily relies on the environment for purification, and the health and well-being of our society is strongly related to the availability and access to green spaces. The links between the twin challenges of the climate emergency and declines in biodiversity are increasingly understood.
Within the construction industry it is encouraging to see a shift towards tackling both of these issues head on, for example through the proposed mandatory biodiversity net gain requirement under the Environment Bill and with significant national infrastructure projects looking to achieve net gain.
Enhancing biodiversity also has a multitude of benefits to people, through engaging people in new skills, knowledge and activities through volunteering days, as well as the benefits that both ourselves and the local community receive from the enhancements.
As we move forwards in a newly altered world post-coronavirus, it is encouraging to see how many people have managed to connect with nature or are rediscovering their love of the natural world as a result of spending time in lockdown. The economic and health benefits from good biodiversity and access to nature are well known and I hope they will form a key part of our recovery plans as a nation and globally.
The above blog is in contribution to our work to support World Environment Day 2020 - a global UN Environment initiative. The global theme for 2020 - biodiversity. To find more resources and ways to help biodiversity as a member of the general public or as an environmental professionals, click here »
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for the Environment.