Local people have shown their concern for tackling climate and nature emergencies in the New Forest by joining an online conference.
More than 1,300 people joined the event which marked the fifth anniversary of the Green Halo Partnership.
Up for consideration was how the partnership can deliver on nature recovery and ‘net zero’ and support people’s health and prosperity at the same time in the context of the pandemic. Net zero is achieved when harmful greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity are balanced by an equivalent amount being absorbed by the natural environment.
Inspirational guests at the conference included keynote speaker Sir Dieter Helm, Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford who chaired the Government’s Natural Capital Committee.
Sir Dieter reflected on challenges and opportunities for our area over the next decade – meeting the net zero targets and restoring and enhancing natural capital.
He said: “We are lucky enough to have so many great resources in the New Forest area – including trees, wetlands, peat and the marine area that can help soak up carbon, and to restore and enhance wildlife. It’s now up to us to use these resources in the best way possible to help us meet our net zero targets and the needs of local people.”
Sir Dieter was joined by local voices reflecting how current opportunities can meet the challenge including: Aldred Drummond, chief executive of the Fawley Waterside project; John Durnell, director of Estates and Conservation Delivery, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, on nature recovery; Anne-Marie Mountifield, chief executive of the Solent LEP, on the economy; Layne Hamerston, Bournemouth University community partnerships manager and co-founder of The Nature Health Network, on health and wellbeing and PhD student Joseph Owen on sustainable living for the next generation.
Alison Barnes, chief executive of the New Forest National Park Authority and Convener of the Green Halo Partnership said: “Since our Partnership began, the environment has rocketed up the political agenda. And, more importantly, in the past 18 months, ordinary people have become much more aware of nature and what it offers.
“As it becomes ever more important that we take urgent action on the issues of our time to reduce carbon, reverse the decline in wildlife, support health and wellbeing and tackle air pollution, so we need to ensure we use opportunities in nature to make genuine improvements to the New Forest area.”
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