Press release

World Environment Day today comes ahead of make-or-break vote for nature and environment

5th June 2024
Environment Day

World Environment Day, which is celebrated today (June 5), rarely lands at such a critical time, according to the Green Party. This year, the annual UN Day focuses on nature restoration, one of the make-or-break issues of the European and local elections. How people vote on Friday will greatly influence whether or not nature restoration remains a priority in Europe and here at home, the Party said.

Minister Eamon Ryan, Leader of the Green Party and Minister for the Environment and Climate, along with Minister Malcolm Noonan, Minister for Nature, have spearheaded a push to ensure that member states approve the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) at the upcoming EU Council meeting on June 17th.

They said that voters across Europe, including here in Ireland, could be the critical deciding voices in whether nature is restored or left to be destroyed. Politicians, they said, could not ignore a strong vote for nature. They have already secured support to approve the NRL from ten other Ministers, including from Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Luxembourg, Czechia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Estonia and Cyprus.

Minister Ryan said;

“The climate crisis has no intention of taking a pause, so we cannot take a pause on climate action. The Nature Restoration Law is about protecting nature but it’s also about protecting towns and villages from flooding, protecting farmers from lost or failed yields, protecting people’s health and wellbeing, ensuring a viable future for today’s children and teenagers.”

“This week alone, we have seen shocking flooding in Germany and Italy. In Delhi, temperatures are soaring above 50 degrees. Here at home, the record sea temperatures we saw last year off our West Coast are currently tracking even higher in 2024. We cannot afford to push pause on the environment and nature in Friday’s vote because it’s seen as some type of inconvenience. A vote for nature this Friday will send a strong signal to politicians that people care about nature and that it’s not good enough to treat it as a political football.”

World Environment Day is a global day organised by the United Nations since 1973, to encourage people to protect and value our environment. The day is an opportunity to celebrate people and communities who are leading the way on environmental action. This year, the theme is “land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience” with a focus on how climate change and pollution is damaging biodiversity.

Malcolm Noonan, Ireland’s first Minister for Nature, said;

“The Green Party have delivered more for nature in the last four years than successive Governments have done over the last four decades. We have increased resources, driven ambitious policies, and elevated the natural world as a political issue. Without us, the Nature Restoration Law wouldn’t have made it this far.

“We need Greens at all levels – in the European Parliament and Council chambers, as well as national Government – to ensure that the biodiversity we all depend on is protected and restored, and that the people who use and manage our lands and seas are rewarded for doing that work.”

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