WWT is today launching a major new public campaign Wetlands Can! urging people to get behind our call for the creation of 100,000 hectares of healthy wetlands in the UK to help combat the climate, nature and wellbeing crisis. The public can do this by signing a pledge to press the UK government to prioritise and invest in more wetlands.
Backed by WWT president Kate Humble, as well as actor Sir Mark Rylance, the campaign comes as new online research commissioned by WWT shows more than three quarters (77%) of the British public think that there should be more investment in natural solutions to tackle the climate emergency.
The YouGov polling also showed people thought taking effective action against climate change was now most important for the future (39%), in comparison to tackling the coronavirus pandemic (31%) or ensuring economic growth (23%).
These results validate the recent Climate Change Committee’s Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk report, which highlights that government needs to prioritise and invest more in natural solutions to tackle climate change. The committee cited healthy wetlands, alongside woodlands, as key to helping government reach its net zero targets by 2050.
Wetlands are the most effective carbon sinks on the planet, locking away huge amounts of carbon to mitigate climate change. Wetlands also help deal with the effects of climate change by increasing biodiversity and protecting communities from flooding. On top of that, they clean water to bring life back to degraded rivers, lakes and ponds, and help improve our mental health.
The YouGov polling also shows that around 60% of the public want to do more personally to fight climate change (58%) and protect nature and wildlife (61%) in their local areas. In response, the WWT campaign is encouraging people to get practical and help make up for the almost 50% of ponds that have been lost in the UK in the twentieth century by getting outside this summer and creating mini-wetlands, including ponds and drainpipe gardens, in their backyards and communities. These can be built in even the smallest of outdoor spaces. A toolkit on how to create these is available from the campaign website.