“Conservation is not a luxury, an optional extra we can afford when the economy picks up, but a vital necessity if our species are to have a long-term future.” Prof. Aubrey Manning, 1997
Scotland’s nature and natural landscapes are rich and diverse. While this diversity and richness is celebrated, all is not well. Scotland’s wildlife has declined considerably over the years and remains in danger. This is important to us all: at the most basic level, biodiversity is important because we all depend on it for our existence.
The importance of nature and the value it provides to us all through food, building materials, clean air and water, for example, is why protecting nature and restoring it for future generations is so important. As Environment Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, said, on 14 December 2020: “Dealing with the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss is one of the most important challenges of this generation.… As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, nature-based solutions such as woodland creation, peatland restoration, urban green infrastructure, regeneration, and a great range of sustainable enterprises will not only help the environment but create jobs helping us build a greener, more inclusive economy.”
On 24 February 2021, Scottish Environment LINK publishes Still Delivering the Goods, which shows what Scotland’s environmental charities are doing to help. The 15 case studies in this report show the action that is being taken, and planned, for nature, for employment and skills training and for climate. These case studies, including completed, ongoing and planned future projects all demonstrate that Scotland’s environmental charities stand ready to increase delivery for and on behalf of Scotland’s people.
Despite the successes, however, this review also highlights several challenges, especially the difficulties associated with raising funds for such work. It further reveals the enormous reliance, by Government and public bodies, on the charities’ members and donors, and charitable funds they can access, to achieve their public policy goals.
The targets the world needs to meet on climate and biodiversity are steep, even in Scotland. We need to invest as a country in more and larger projects of the type illustrated in this report. Together, with investment of resources and human energy, progress towards the climate and nature emergencies can be made. With supportive policy mechanisms, and targets for nature as well as climate that focus effort, more of us can work together to achieve the scale of change needed.
This report and these 15 case studies show how Scotland’s environmental charities and civic society offer a key to success through their sustained action on the ground, working together at scale and over time.
Find the report here.