Europe and Central Asia
15 May 2019

#IvoteNature: European Elections 2019

By Honey Kohan & Gui-Xi Young

The political and environmental stakes for Europe have never been higher – this is why BirdLife and LUSH Cosmetics have teamed up to call on citizens across the EU to ‘VOTE FOR NATURE’ in the European Elections, 23-26 May 2019. 

Birds can’t vote for themselves. But let’s step away from scientific reality – if only just for a second – and let ourselves imagine…“What if they could?” Would the Snowy owl, whose dramatic decline is linked to climate change, vote for leaders that ignore global warming? Would farmland birds, whose populations have plummeted 55% in 30 years, vote for the politicians pushing the intensive farming policies destroying their homes?

At BirdLife, science is our gold standard. And the science tells us we cannot afford to turn our heads from reality for long. Nature can’t vote for itself. Instead, it falls upon us to give nature its voice before it falls silent forever.

Our planet is getting hotter, ocean levels are rising, and those precious remnants of unspoiled natural habitats left on Earth are ravaged in pursuit of profit. It is beyond any reasonable doubt that human activities are causing ecosystem destruction on a scale not seen for 65 million years. The crisis isn’t coming – it’s already here.

This is why BirdLife Europe has teamed up with LUSH Cosmetics to launch our #IvoteNature campaign. Together, we’re urging Europeans to vote on behalf of nature in the upcoming EU parliamentary elections (23-26 May). We share a fundamental belief that the health of our natural environment is inseparable from the health of our civil society and political participation. As Ariel Brunner, BirdLife Europe’s Head of Policy, so passionately points out, the battle for the EU’s soul is also a fight for a liveable planet.

 © lush_merryhill

From Belgium to Bulgaria, from Finland to France, 297 LUSH stores in 17 countries across the EU are dedicating their shop windows to iconic images of treasured national nature sites with the message – “Nature is in Crisis”. LUSH store teams, supported by our local BirdLife partners, are ready to answer the public’s questions about why these elections are so important for the future of our planet.

So what does #IvoteNature mean? In the absence of voters being able to mark the box on their ballot beside ‘Living forests’, ‘Wildflower meadows’ or ‘Clean oceans’, we call for them to put that tiny – yet so very powerful – mark of personal values beside the next best thing. As Angelo Caserta, Director of BirdLife Europe, explains, “voting for nature means voting for candidates and parties who take our climate and biodiversity crisis seriously”, and have the determination to “turn things around”.

This isn’t the first time that BirdLife and LUSH have joined forces. Back in 2015, we rallied half a million European citizens to defend the EU’s nature laws – the Birds and Habitats Directives – when they fell prey to political attack. As a result, the EU still has some of the strongest nature laws in the world, offering critical protection for over 1,000 animal and plant species and the world’s largest network of protected sites – Natura 2000.

These laws are made by the people we vote into the European Parliament as our chosen representatives. The votes we have cast in the past have given us inspiring conservation wins such as the remarkable recovery of the White-tailed eagle in Europe. But without enough representatives standing up for nature in European politics, progress will stop and many of our hard-fought victories will be undone.

It’s true that Europeans are experiencing a collective awakening. We’re changing life-long habits by saying no to single-use plastics, eating less meat, and buying locally, sustainably, ethically. We’re signing petitions to save the planet. But what happens after the beach clean-up is over?

In the European Elections this May, we simply ask you to vote for what you love. We’ve marched for nature – now it’s time to vote for nature!

 

European Elections, 23-26 May 2019

If you want to find out which of your national parties takes the fight to stop climate change and protect nature seriously, check out this list!

 

Follow our #IvoteNature campaign on social media

Twitter: @BirdLife Europe

Facebook: @birdlife.europe

Instagram: @BirdLife.Europe

 

 

 



Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on the ECA section of this website are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.