Nature throughout Europe, but especially in the Netherlands, is in poor shape. Due to intensive livestock farming, traffic and industry, more and more biodiversity and thus important insect and animal species that are necessary for our survival are disappearing. We must protect biodiversity, restore nature and tackle the problem at the beginning of the chain: Stop pollution.

  • The Netherlands has the highest nitrogen emissions in Europe. It has a huge impact on nature.
  • We have only 15% left of our original biodiversity† And the insect population has shrunk rapidly in recent years.
  • Also in the rest of Europe, 80% of nature reserves are in poor condition. Worldwide, more than 1 million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, which is necessary for our survival.
  • We are hugely dependent on ecosystems and biodiversity† Nature can continue without us, but man cannot do without nature.
  • In addition to a climate crisis, we are in the middle of a biodiversity crisis.
  • Intensive livestock farming, transport and industry must soon become more sustainable.
  • It is now up to the EU, including the Netherlands, to show ambition and leadership.

In order to deal with the crisis in nature, policies are needed at all administrative levels: local, national and European. Biodiversity does not stop at borders.

The time for nice words is over, we are going to work.


Bas Eickhout

MEP

Healthy nature

The diversity of animal and plant species is rapidly declining in Dutch nature. Where once bees, butterflies and other insects were heard buzzing, it is now quiet. Rare birds such as the curl and the great crested grebe also have a hard time. Worldwide, more than 1 million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, while we are hugely dependent on our nature and ecosystems. A healthy, diverse nature is necessary for humans. Without insects such as bees and butterflies, there is no pollination between the plants. And that means: no food for us. A variety of animal and plant species are therefore not only valuable in themselves, but also form the basis of our life on earth. Nature also supplies food and raw materials for products. And nature is also good for our mental health. Under clear blue skies we enjoy a nice walk galore. Nature reduces stress and is good for children’s development.

Nature has been neglected for years. Highways, airports and intensive livestock farming were given ample space for economies of scale, which increased environmental pollution. To reverse the trend, we need to reduce the pressure on nature. We reduce emissions of nitrogen and other harmful substances by making agriculture, transport and industry throughout Europe more sustainable. In addition, binding targets are needed to restore and better protect nature. In this way, we create a network of protected Natura 2000 sites. We work on sustainable forest management, fight illegal logging and improve water quality. We also prevent microplasticschemical waste and drug residues end up in our water.

Nitrogen emissions must be reduced

Sustainable agriculture

The current European agricultural policy is aimed at large-scale food production. About 40% of the total EU budget goes to this sector, especially the large farmers. We pay so much to limit the negative consequences of this for nature, our environment and our health. The Netherlands is a pioneer in intensive agriculture, as the second agricultural exporter in the world. This results in a high concentration of emissions in a room that is too small. In addition, the Netherlands is the largest emitter in Europe per capita. square meters. For example, the nitrogen from intensive livestock farming is precipitated in the often adjacent nature reserves. Among other things, this means that oak trees die, acidification in the soil increases and insects disappear. The use of chemical pesticides also affects water and soil quality and therefore affects our health.

This is primarily due to a lack of government control. We must be fair to the farmers: put an end to the uncertainty and ensure that the farmer starts working with nature. We are committed to sustainability and nature-inclusive organic production, and we halve the use of chemical pesticides. We must be aware that it is in the Dutch interest of the rest of Europe to do what we have already been ordered to do by the courts: to make agriculture more sustainable.

Field with undulating grass

European policy is needed to reverse the trend

political will

A European policy is needed to ensure that we tackle the biodiversity crisis across Europe with the same ambition at the same time. The European Commission is proposing legislation to this end, such as halving the use of pesticides and restoring ecosystems. In addition, the UN is currently negotiating a global biodiversity policy. From December 5 to 17, the Paris Moment of Biodiversity will take place in Montreal, Canada, with global goals to save nature. Important moments that can reverse the biodiversity crisis. It is up to the EU, including the Netherlands, to show ambition and leadership now.