Kickstarting the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, 2021 has been heralded as the global ‘super year’ for nature and climate action due to major meetings and decision-making moments coinciding: The UK hosting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 26 and the G7 Summit, and the Convention on Biological Diversity COP 15 is taking place in China this year.
However, despite the overwhelming focus on international cooperation, summits and agreements, we also have a monumental opportunity to influence local decision makers this year – the largest ever series of local elections in history. These local elections will decide the councillors who will represent our communities and make key decisions for the community, impacting your life, and wildlife.
We know that thinking and acting at a local level helps communities fight climate change, restore nature and build resilience to the future impacts of climate change. And our local councils are central to driving local action for climate and nature – they can provide funding and resources, they’re able to influence infrastructure like transport, planning and food systems and have unique insight into the needs and lives of their residents.
The councillors you choose to elect on May 6th will have the power to make decisions that will not only help local people, but also play a part in tackling the climate and ecological emergencies.
We need to make sure that action for climate and nature sits at the heart of all the decisions that they are making. These local elections are a key opportunity for us to make sure our councillors are committed to tackling the climate and ecological crises and ensuring a fair and green recovery from the pandemic, if elected.
Working collectively, we can build up the pressure for councillors to take local action on the climate and ecological emergencies; if councils lead the way, the pressure will mount on the government to do the same. The actions of local councils around the country in declaring a “climate emergency” have reinvigorated the debate about climate change and what action we and the government should take.
We now need the same energy for the ecological emergency. During the local elections are asking local councillors to commit to declaring an ecological emergency, setting a strategy, action plan and targets for recovering nature locally, if elected. We have an opportunity to make sure nature’s recovery locally and a green and fair recovery from the pandemic are priorities for our local leaders.
If you want to get involved in the local elections, keep an eye out for our local election guide and templates for writing to your councillor candidates, launching soon!