We’re heading to the polls to elect our Welsh Assembly Members – so what will the next Welsh Government need to do for our planet? Here are some of the things we think are most important…
1. Protect our seas
The Welsh coast and seas are amazing. They’re home to a massive variety of habitats and species, including porpoises, dolphins and turtles.
As well as being beautiful, our seas provide vital resources including food and energy, as well as opportunities to improve our health and well-being such as walking and swimming.
But Welsh waters are getting busier. There’s a risk that unless we look after them properly, we could deny our children and grandchildren the same opportunities.
We want the next Welsh Government to put in place better planning and management for our seas. It also needs to improve protection of species and habitats by completing a network of Marine Protected Areas.
2. Help tackle climate change
Did you know that 1 in 6 species is at risk of extinction because of climate change?
The Earth’s global temperature is warming, meaning that weather patterns and ecosystems are changing more quickly than many people and species can adapt.
All countries need to play their part in cutting greenhouse gas emissions to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees C.
In Wales we now have legally binding targets to cut emissions but action is needed to deliver.
A crucial action for the next Welsh Government is to support a phase-out of fossil fuels and shift to renewable energy, harnessing the natural power of waves, wind and solar energy that Wales has in abundance.
3. Deliver cosy Welsh homes
Cosy homes? Nice idea, but what’s that got to do with WWF and protecting the planet?
The sad reality is that Wales has thousands of cold and draughty homes, which are wasting lots of energy and contributing to climate change.
Upgrading these homes to prevent heat loss would make a huge difference. Welsh Government needs to provide support for people to take action such as fitting loft insulation or more efficient boilers. This would cut greenhouse gas emissions, as well as improving health and creating thousands of jobs.
4. Help the world’s forests and oceans
Imagine if all public spending in Wales was geared around helping our planet, instead of harming it.
The Welsh public sector spends an estimated £4.3 billion annually.
We want this budget to be used responsibly, to avoid causing damage to wildlife, habitats and communities around the world.
For example, consider wood and paper products, such as the books in schools or the timber to build a hospital.
The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) label gives us confidence about where the wood comes from. If it doesn’t have this label, it may well have come from illegal or controversial sources – and so have harmed forests, wildlife and local communities.
So how about Welsh public money buying FSC certified wood, as well as sustainable MSC fish and ethical Fairtrade products?
5. Create jobs for the future
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Reduce, re-use, recycle”.
Our economy depends completely on having a healthy environment. Where would we be without energy, timber or clean air and water?
We want to see Wales create jobs for the long term, in businesses that can thrive in a world of scarce resources.
According to a report by the Green Alliance, there are now more low carbon and environmental jobs in Wales (over 40,000) than in motor trades, financial services and telecommunications!
The next Welsh Government needs to build on this foundation, as well as helping our whole economy become more sustainable.
This means, for example, helping businesses reduce the resources they use – from metals to water – and recycle their waste.
If you support these five actions, why not join our online campaign to tell Welsh politicians to protect our planet?