November 13, 2008
Combating the economic crisis by building more infrastructure (like motorways) and exploiting our already over-exploited Earth even more in the process is not the right approach. Whoever thinks along such lines fails to understand both the debates of recent years and the Stern and Sukhdev reports!
To put discussions on the right track again:
1) What we need to do is to reduce our ecological footprint, whether in CO2 emissions, sealing soils,
exploiting minerals and other raw materials (for houses, streets, dams…) or elsewhere.
2) The minerals exploiting industry should focus more on recycling materials, instead of exploiting new quarries, gravel pits etc.
3) Exploitation (and destruction) of Natura 2000 sites is mostly due to having avoided exploiting other areas, for example farmland. But the sites protected under the Birds and Habitats Directives and Natura 2000 in most member states, cover less than 10 % of the land surface. Why should exploitation then be accepted in these few – and ecologically most important – areas?
The first step must be to prove the need for raw materials. If this need is proven, then it is also legitimate to use other areas, e.g. agricultural land.
It is always a question of prioities, and the 2010 target to stop the loss of biodiversity is clearly one on which all member states and the European Commission have agreed.
4) In the discussions on business and biodiversity, the extracting industry has also committed itself to the binding principles and regulations in European law, namely the nature directives, the EIA and the SEA. Similar commitments are found in Countdown 2010.
Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU)Author : Letters to the EurActiv editor