A new survey of more than 27,000 Europeans has shown awareness of and concern about biodiversity is rising across the EU.
The 2019 Biodiversity Eurobarometer was conducted across all 28 Member States in December 2018. 27,643 respondents from a representative range of social and demographic groups were interviewed in the survey, fully titled Attitudes of Europeans Towards Biodiversity; which aimed to gauge EU residents’ awareness of issues surrounding biodiversity and opinions on potential future EU actions to protect ecosystems.
The survey found an overall increase in awareness of the term “biodiversity”, with more than 70 per cent of those surveyed saying they knew what it meant; while 96 per cent of respondents acknowledging the responsibility of humans to “look after” natural resources and 95 per cent were in agreement that protecting nature was an essential tool in the fight against climate change. 92 per cent said maintaining biodiversity was an important factor in the EU’s long term development; and 91 per cent said it was crucial to the ongoing production of fuel, food and medicines. All these statistics showed a marked increase since the last Biodiversity Eurobarometer survey, produced in 2015.
EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “The 2019 Biodiversity Eurobarometer survey clearly demonstrates three things: Europeans care deeply about nature and biodiversity; they recognize climate change and biodiversity loss as two sides of the same coin and they expect the EU to act in order to safeguard nature. Coupled with the solid scientific evidence coming from IPBES [the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services]…the Commission has both a duty and a mandate to work towards a strong global deal for nature and people in 2020.”
The latest IPBES Global Assessment, released yesterday, identified “unprecedented” levels of species extinction and called for immediate, drastic global action.
Sir Robert Watson, chair of IPBES, said: “The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture. The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide. The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global. Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”