Life in the 6th great species extinction
– the Austrian biodiversity strategy must not remain inactive
On September 20th, a small group of interested GEarthies met in the March-Thaya Auen, more precisely in Marchegg, to be inspired during a guided tour on the topic of biodiversity.
After writing postcards to the European Union about our vision of the future of 2030 and processing our impressions, from the amazement about the semi-wild conic horses grazing the land in a nature conservation friendly way to the success stories of the reserve about successful re-establishment of rare insect and plant species we had heard, we could start our journey home with optimism and the knowledge that endangered species and habitats can recover with the help of careful action.
Copyright: Fini Just
Even before this meeting, some of us decided at the last weekend of this year’s Action Leader Training to dedicate ourselves to the topic of biodiversity on behalf of Generation Earth. As a next step, we dedicated ourselves to the consultation with the Austrian Biodiversity Strategy 2030.
Especially reading about how few to no projects of the preliminary Strategy 2020 have been implemented and how drastic the need for action is in this regard, finally led us to write a letter to the current Minister of Environment Leonore Gewessler, prioritizing the following demands:
- Young people must be even more involved in the consultation process, because the biodiversity crisis, along with the climate crisis, is the main factor influencing our future
- In the further process, means such as a citizens’ council can lead to even more inclusive participation of the population
- The Biodiversity Strategy 2030 needs a binding implementation with sufficient funding, targets and controls so that it is not ignored like the previous strategy
To our joy we received a very quick answer from the ministry, but many of our demands were not (sufficiently) met, so we followed up. Finally, we were invited to a meeting by Sarah Warscher, cabinet member of Leonore Gewessler, responsible for biodiversity and species protection, and Gabriele Obermayer, responsible from the Ministry of Environment. This meeting took place online on November 10th. We were supported by the WWF species protection expert Arno Aschauer.
During the discussion we were able to point out once again the urgency of establishing the strategy politically, especially after the catastrophically poor performance of Austria in the current report “State of nature in the EU” of the European Environment Agency (EEA). Also our proposal of citizens’ councils seems to have met with interest and could be presented and discussed again. Perhaps the greatest success was that we were invited as guest experts for a future meeting of the National Biodiversity Commission (NBK) by Gabriele Obermayer. However, we stick to our demand for generational justice and a permanent participation of young people in the NBK.
Despite its reputation as a nature conservation country, Austria still has a long way to go for a more ecological future in which we value and protect species and habitats sufficiently. Therefore we will continue to support biodiversity with your help in the name of the youth!
Do you want to join in? Then get in touch with us!
Magdalena & Julia
30.11.2020, Remembrance Day for Lost Species