Otter (Lutra lutra) (Photo: Yves Adams / Vilda)It's time to #RestoreNature

March 25, 2023

Currently, nature in Europe is in a deplorable state. The consequence is that any activity having only the slightest negative effect on the quality of nature brings its components, that is plants, animals, fungi etc., nearer to extinction. Since we all depend on nature (who's going to produce the oxygen we breathe when there are no plants?), it is of vital importance to stop the deterioration of nature. Even better, let's restore what disappeared. This isn't a fairy tale, a dream or a utopian wish, we did it before. For example, in the 20th century, the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) disappeared in many parts of Europe largely due to pollution. With considerable efforts to improve environmental conditions, they are returning to previously abandoned waters. This recently has led to the downgrading of its status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species from  Vulnerable to Near Threatened. European legislation, like the Water Framework Directive and the Habitats Directive, helped in achieving this result.

Most importantly, it is not only the otter that benefits from the improved water quality, also fish and humans benefit. Restoring nature not only prevents the extinction of species but improves the lives of humans as well. Restoring the quality and the amount of natural habitat in Europe leads to better flood protection, better soils, cleaner water, cooler cities and healthier humans. Restoring wetlands, rivers, forests, grasslands, marine ecosystems, and the species they host will help build up Europe’s resilience and strategic autonomy, preventing natural disasters and reducing risks to food security. It has been calculated that every euro spent on nature restoration generates at least eight times its value in returns.

Because of its importance for our life, the European Commission proposes a Nature Restoration Law. The past decades have shown that to preserve and restore our natural environment laws are needed to push national governments and lower authorities to really implement their promises for a better future.

Right now, governments across the EU are discussing this new law. This is the moment to take action. Join us and over 200 NGOs and ask your decision-makers to pass a strong nature restoration law and vigorously pursue its implementation. Only then we can curb the current cirses in agriculture, fisheries, forestry and the environment. By the way, we're not alone in this pledge. Several business networks urge the European Parliament and Council to adopt the Nature Restoration Law: Business networks call for robust Nature Restoration Law to align EU’s nature and climate ambitions