Nature Restoration Law
Restoring Nature Should Not be Controversial.
And it’s certainly not something our public representatives should be against.
It’s quite sad, that something so noble and good as restoring nature, has divided political parties. Which in turn makes the public feel uneasy.
So, I want to tell you what the Nature Restoration Law is – and what it is not. I want to explain why it is something we should embrace, not fear. I want to set the record straight.
The work underway at the moment is an EU-wide move to reverse decades of decline in biodiversity by encouraging Member States to bring ecosystems back into good condition. It sets ambitious goals to restore habitats for flora and fauna, restore woodlands and oceans, and with it bring valuable benefits for climate, water, agriculture and the wider economy.
Towns and cities will also benefit through provisions for more green space. It is the first piece of EU biodiversity legislation for over 30 years, and can be so positive for all of us here in Laois and Offaly.
A huge amount of the debate has centred on the “rewetting” of agricultural land. Rewetting is only one aspect of the Nature Restoration Law. It means raising the level of the water table on those peaty soils that were previously drained.
In the medium term, we have the capacity to meet rewetting targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 within state owned lands. These are the lands of Bord na Móna and Coillte in particular.
However, for those farmers who wish to play their part in restoring wetland nature, we want to support them.
These lands can be difficult to manage at the best of times, and farmers are the real experts here - their knowledge and skills will be needed to manage them in the future. In fact, we are already supporting farmers to manage these types of soils on farms across the midlands - with projects such as FarmPEAT and FarmCARBON.
At the moment – the proposal is making its way through the European Parliament, but the European People’s Party, of which Fine Gael is a member, is attempting to block it. We need them to reverse their regressive position, and support the concept of saving nature and biodiversity, not only just here in Ireland, but across the European Union.
Restoring nature is certainly not just a Green Party issue. Fianna Fail support this at European level, as do Sinn Fein. It is however disappointing there is still such negativity from some individual FF politicians - national and European politicians who should know better.
Big businesses like Nestle, Coca Cola, and Danone are supporting this. Thousands of scientists have backed it. And from talking to people across the country, many of you want it too.
This is not rural versus urban, or the environment versus agriculture, and anybody who fuels that narrative is playing politics with nature, biodiversity, and the future of our planet.
What we need now is a solutions focused approach. Those who are blindly opposed to this law, are simply not interested in solutions. They are the ones who see nothing wrong with our current way of life, our current consumption model, which we now know categorically comes at the expense of our environment.
If we chain ourselves to preserving our current way of life, we limit progress and stifle any sense that there is a better way. Because there has to be a better way.
This is about place, and the connection the people living there have with it. And together, through nature restoration we can make this country a better place to live, work and raise future generations.
So now is the time to raise your voice, give nature a fighting chance, and support the ambitions of the nature restoration law.