Vote for Nature: Protecting Europe's Future with the Nature Restoration Law

As Europeans, we still have a chance to persuade EU Parliamentarians to cast thoughtful votes and support nature restoration but we have to act now!

Jul 7, 2023
Natural landscape with a scenic route: the sky is blue but a bit cloudy with the sun peaking through. The green hills look luscious. No sign of humans except for a walkable road.

Warning: Europe's precious natural areas and diverse wildlife are in grave danger! With over 80% of the Bloc’s environmental habitats in poor condition and only 23% of its wildlife in good health, experts are calling for strong measures to mitigate, protect, and restore natural areas across the European Union. Enter the Nature Restoration Law, a game-changing legislation that aims to breathe new life into our land and ocean habitats while bolstering overall environmental governance.

The law would set a target of rehabilitating 20% of the EU’s degraded land, freshwater, sea, and urban habitats by 2030 and reaching 90% restoration by 2050. Each member state would carve their own path towards these goals, reducing activities that negatively affect biodiversity while adopting sustainable solutions and governance within the fisheries and agricultural sectors. This falls in line with the objectives of both the European Green Deal and the international goal set at the UN Biological Diversity Conference in 2022 to protect 30% of the world’s natural area’s by 2030 - the 30 by 30 target.

What is happening with the Natural Restoration Law?

The law has faced challenges due to a disinformation campaign that has misrepresented its potential impact on the agriculture and fisheries sector. Unfortunately, conservatives are using the Nature Restoration Law as a bargaining chip, arguing that it poses a risk to the livelihoods of European farmers and could potentially disrupt the global food supply chain. As a result, the vote on the Nature Restoration Law was deadlocked on June 27, but it has been rescheduled to July 12, representing the last opportunity for it to be approved.

The IUCN and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are among several international organizations to call for lawmakers to vote in favor of the law, as it represents the type of strong long-term policy that will drive the transition towards sustainable economic development. 

Volt, together with partners in the European Parliament, is on a mission to raise awareness about the crucial significance of the Nature Restoration Law. This proposition holds immense potential to make a real difference in the social, economic, and environmental prosperity of Europe. By supporting this law, we can protect and restore Europe's natural areas and biodiversity, combating the alarming degradation we currently face. It's an opportunity to safeguard our environment for future generations.

Future-Proofing Our Food Systems

The framework proposed for the Nature Restoration Law works hand in hand with the European Green Deal’s target of no net emissions of greenhouse gasses by 2050, and economic growth decoupled from resource use. To achieve these goals, it has a remarkable initiative in place: planting a whopping 3 billion trees by the end of the decade. A healthy environment supports our farmers, fishers, and other food producers, so it is important we think of the future of these industries and develop solutions that will make them thrive long-term.

Building a Resilient Economic Platform

The environment underpin our communities’ socio-economic systems and the Nature Restoration Law is an opportunity to protect them, as Boris Erg and Alberto Arroyo Schnell in a statement from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) European office explain. “Financing the restoration of nature is fundamental for our economy as every euro invested returns €8 to €38 in benefits. Moreover, nature restoration is crucial for our resilience as we experience the proliferation of droughts, wildfires and floods in Europe. Failing to adopt the Nature Restoration Law will have negative long-term consequences on the economy and on people, while weakening the EU’s proven global leadership in environmental policymaking.”

As the IUCN highlights, taking steps to protect and rehabilitate nature will future-proof economic growth and tackle climate change all the while ensuring that the EU maintains its international and domestic commitments. On a much broader scale, the global 30 by 30 goal seeks to protect a third of the planet’s lands and seas, and leverage this to develop blue and green economies capable of benefiting local ecosystem resources and the communities that rely on them. The Nature Restoration Law falls in line with these targets, and solidifies the EU as a leader in smart environmental policy.

At Volt, we think that as Europeans, we still have a chance to persuade EU Parliamentarians to cast thoughtful votes and support nature restoration. Join us in spreading the word, raising awareness, and urging lawmakers to vote in favour of this legislation. Act now and be part of the positive change we need for a thriving and sustainable Europe.

If we care, so will our politicians!

Article by Vincent Diringer