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Local alliance declares ‘nature emergency’ for Sheffield

Nature Recovery Sheffield calls on people and businesses in South Yorkshire to declare a nature emergency today and start taking action “to help restore local nature and wildlife”.

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Heather burning on Barden Moor, Yorkshire.

Photo by Ian Greig on Wikimedia Commons.

A new alliance of organisations has declared a ‘nature emergency’ for Sheffield.

Today (21 May), Nature Recovery Sheffield is asking people and businesses to support the declaration by saying ‘I/ We declare a Nature Emergency for Sheffield’ via social media, window displays, websites and mailing lists.

“As well as a climate crisis, our wildlife is facing a critical emergency... The declaration is the first step in the plan to encourage everybody to take action for nature in Sheffield”, Nature Recovery Sheffield said in a statement.

The group includes Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, Sheffield Green Parents, Sheffield Friends of the Earth, South Yorkshire Climate Alliance, the Diocese of Sheffield and Owlthorpe Action Group.

Sheffield City Council declared a climate emergency in February 2019, followed by Sheffield City Region in November 2019 - but campaigners say neither have yet joined the alliance’s nature emergency declaration.

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Campaign material from the Nature Recovery Sheffield alliance.

Liz Ballard, Chief Executive of Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said that a quarter of species in the UK are at threat of extinction, with some, including David Attenborough, calling this “the sixth global mass extinction”.

“The UK is one of the most ‘nature depleted’ countries in the world. And it’s happening right here on our doorstep in Sheffield. We rely on nature to provide us with clean air, water, food and space to enjoy and breathe.

“We need to declare a nature emergency and take action for nature’s recovery.”

As well as widespread species death, key issues of concern for the group include invasive plants and animals, pollution and the use of pesticides, hunting and species persecution, and moorland burning.

Cathy Rhodes, Environment Officer from The Diocese of Sheffield, said, “These emergencies affect nature and wildlife globally, causing great suffering including to people in poorer communities who did not create the problem.

“We see this as a justice issue. As our mission is to love our neighbours as ourselves, the time to act is now.”

Next steps for the alliance include a consultation to invite further involvement from businesses, organisations, political bodies, individuals and funders, followed by the setting of targets and timelines for action and change which encourage people to “act locally, think globally”.

Anyone interested in learning more about the campaign can sign up or read the alliance’s FAQs.

A range of nature emergency images for use online is available on the Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust website.

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