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Wales: Committed to a "green-led" COVID-19 recovery

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked debate on how we, as a society, should best progress with the 'recovery' process.

Players from ranging from government bodies, businesses, NGOs, charities and the public, all have a stake in the road to recovery, with the majority calling for a route that kickstarts the economy whilst simultaneously protecting the environment.

For too long, the "business as usual" approach has favoured industrial development and economic growth at the expense of the natural world.

The coronavirus outbreak has quite vividly shown us that the environment and its wild fauna and flora can thrive and flourish when human activity is turned down a few notches.

With lockdown keeping many of us isolated within the safety of our homes and with many council services on hold, we have seen nature take back its own.

Image credit: The Straits Times

Roadwise wildflowers, for example, has been left to bloom, becoming important habitats for species of flowers and bees.

Addressing the matter, the Welsh Government has said it is committed to a "green-led recovery". The wildlife charity RSPB has called for Welsh politicians to commit to its "green recovery" plan, which it says can benefit people, the economy and the environment.

Included in the eco-friendly plans is less priority for building new roads in favour of improving public transport.

There is much scientific backing that highlights the importance of transitioning travel that is more personal-use and automated, to public and sustainable. The use of e-bikes, for example, has the potential boost the health of its users whilst cutting down on emissions from travel drastically.

Katie-Jo Luxton, director of RSPB Cymry said: "This is the time to put in place a green recovery that will restore nature, tackle climate change and secure the wellbeing of this and future generations".

Moreover, the RSPB has said that the Welsh Government should aim for greenhouse gas emissions to be at net zero by 2045, and should put stronger laws in place to ensure this happens.

The charity says both stricter laws and prioritised extra funding would help restore and protect sensitive habitats like woodlands, peatlands, semi-natural grasslands and seagrass meadows.

In an era where we face both a human and climate crisis, perhaps now really is the time to learn from the difficulties we are facing, and combine efforts that benefit our economies and environment.


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