Time is of the essence for implementing new environmental strategies in Ireland
The recent report released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided vital information on our overall support and action taken by governments, businesses and individuals towards our environment. Despite the growing recognition of the environmental and climate challenges we face, many people continue to disregard the sheer extent of biodiversity loss and its associated impact on our lives.
The EPA report highlights several core findings and the consequences of our continued actions and impact on the environment. The four-year assessment incorporates all industries and is focused on understanding the environment in its totality, so we can appreciate our impact, whether this is a positive or negative one. Our human, ecological and natural systems are all integrated. The atmosphere and terrestrial environments in Ireland, the soils, freshwater and marine systems are all critical parts of our continued health and a functioning economy. The EPA emphasises that all of these vital systems are under threat and significant pressure. Every study and assessment, from all industries, display similar concerning results. The implementation of the Climate Action Plan is a positive step, but industry experts are stressing that a major transition and transformation of our systems is required. Environmental experts highlight the continued degradation of our ecosystems and a deteriorating trend in water quality.
The question is what should be done to manage these natural systems more effectively? The report emphasises that there is an urgent requirement for a clear singular national environmental policy stance. The EPA strongly believes that environmental costs and benefits must be incorporated into all departments and all industries. A separate EPA study has investigated the development of a natural capital accounting system which could deliver standard metrics capable of providing the necessary details.
There is continued evidence to suggest regular failures to meet current targets and adhering to existing regulations. Findings from the National Parks and Wildlife Service indicate that several significant ecosystems have not received adequate protection and environmental experts are urging for a radical reformation of the existing measures.
The report suggests that none of this intended action will be possible without the effective implementation of clear communication and engagement strategies with local communities, and the added economic support to enable the transition.
There is still time to recover and restore the current trend of degradation to our environment, however, it requires a significant and rapid transformation in attitudes and behaviours across all levels.