Posted on 18 May 2016
People across Europe will take action to support habitats and species under threat
WWF launched a call today to “Turn Up the Volume of Nature
” across Europe inviting people to reconnect with the sounds of nature and take action to ensure the protection of many natural habitats and species that are still under threat. Thousands of songs of nature will be sent to Europe’s politicians to avoid any weakening of key EU nature legislation, currently under discussion. In its campaign video, WWF also reminds people about the enormous benefits that spending more time in nature has for our health and wellbeing.
From today until the end of June, in at least 16 European countries – including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Hungary, Greece, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, and the Netherlands – people will virtually help increase the sounds of nature and give it more space in their urban areas. By choosing various sounds of natural elements, like water, earth, wind and key European animal species, people will create their own nature songs online and send them with a message to their national environment ministers and to the Juncker Commission in Brussels.
Genevieve Pons, Director at WWF European Policy Office said:
“Air and noise pollution and stress affect more and more people in Europe, especially in our growing cities. With ‘Turn Up the Volume of Nature’, we want to help people enjoy again the sound of the sea or the singing of birds and send a clear message to politicians to better preserve our nature and our health.
Europe’s enormous natural heritage is still under threat due to lack of political will at EU and national level. National ministers and the European Commission need to firmly commit to saving the EU’s Nature Directives and pushing for their full implementation, in order to protect our nature and allow citizens to reap the benefits.”
A recent study funded by the European Commission
acknowledges that as European societies are increasingly urbanised and distant from nature, physical health issues related to sedentary lifestyles are on the rise, as are mental health problems like depression. According to the study, the EU’s 27,000 protected areas of the Natura 2000 network could be seen as pre-emptive health care centres in Europe.
WWF’s Turn Up the Volume of Nature Campaign is part of the NGOs Coalition #NatureAlert
that was launched last year to prevent the European Commission from reopening and weakening the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, Europe’s most important pieces of nature legislation. Thanks to these laws, many animal species such as the wolf and the Iberian lynx were saved from extinction and the world’s biggest network of protected areas – Natura 2000 – was created. In 2015, the joint NGO campaign mobilised half a million people,
12 national governments and the European Parliament to speak out against a reopening of the legislation and for its better implementation. By the end of June the European Commission is expected to present its initial position at a ministerial conference organised by the Dutch Presidency in Amsterdam.