Europe and Central Asia
27 Nov 2020

One good tern deserves another….

By Christopher Sands, Head of Communications at BirdLife Europe and Central Asia
Back in the spring of 2019, COVID was invisible to you and me - as it lurked and waited to strike. Our BirdLife scientists and policy folks knew it was there, however. They knew that the wilful disregard some show for nature’s integrity as they wantonly deforest and invade spaces which should be left to their indigenous denizens would take its zoonotic toll sooner or later.
 
And here we are in the late autumn some 18 months later paying an unimaginable price - globally, in 215 countries, some 55+ million cases, 1.4 million dead, and nearly 16 million actively ill - increasing on the average by well over 600,000 cases daily, nearly 10,000 deaths daily.
 
Back in those halcyon days we did, of course,  have worries - BirdLife’s European & Central Asian partners were preparing for the early summer elections for the European Parliament and the subsequent choice of a new European Commission and President. The influence for bad and for good of these politicians on nature, birds and biodiversity is profound. So we were girding up for a fight to elect good people - people all across Europe who would themselves fight once elected to urgently address the existential crises of climate and biodiversity loss, and better strengthen and enforce our already good EU-level environmental laws and policies.
 
To launch a concentrated, short-term campaign we were thrilled to partner with LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. With their hundreds of shops across Europe, LUSH worked with us to encourage awareness of the importance of voting in the elections for candidates who themselves would work to protect nature. We called our campaign #IvoteNature and we were in storefront windows with catchy graphics and pictures of locally iconic nature and birds - shop employees enthusiastically explained the campaign to curious patrons and we reinforced the campaign with extensive social media promotion. On Twitter alone our hashtag was used over 22 million times - 28 BirdLife partners in 25 languages worked with their local LUSH partner to ‘get out the vote’ for nature - and when the dust had settled, nature had done better than ever before, turnout was dramatically increased, especially for MEP’s who had declared a commitment to saving biodiversity, birds and the planet. 
 
This growing zeitgeist led to the choice of the greenest EU President and Commission ever, and later in the autumn of 2019 what became the EU Green Deal and Commission leaders who were embracing green action and sustainability like never before.
 
Of course, this wasn’t the first rodeo for LUSH. Just several years before they had stepped up to the plate and helped us build a powerful coalition to successfully save Europe’s key nature protection legislation from fatal weakening at the hands of the pro-business Juncker Commission, helping us mobilise over 500,000 citizens to fight for their protection.
 
Now, fast forward to today, and those grim pandemic realities.  We all know the devastating economic and social toll, and the critical need to mask, lockdown and isolate as we try to interrupt and control the viral spread.
 
Our partners at LUSH, like most commerce, have faced store closures and unprecedented business interruption. But as with many businesses, they remain open safely on-line. So we propose that just as the LUSH family across Europe stepped up to support us to fight for nature and made a profound difference in doing so - we do the same for them. Your grandmother needs a bath bomb for the holidays! You need a bath bomb!
 
Let’s extend a hand in solidarity with these good people who have done so much to support nature and all of us. This fight to save our planet, our biodiversity and our birds, is an uphill battle every single day. If we ever wish to succeed, we need to support one another.
 
 

 



Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.