The EU referendum campaign has yet to truly strike a chord with voters. Too often it resembles a bitter Tory Party leadership contest dominated by outsized personalities trying to land body-shots rather than what it actually is. The most important political decision in a generation.
The outcome will be felt in so many areas – from jobs and investment to the fight against climate change and inequality. This referendum is not the same as a General Election – voters don’t get to change their mind and change direction in five years’ time. There’s every chance that this decision will last a lifetime.
It has not yet dominated the headlines, but a crucial issue is the protection of our environment. Only a vote to remain in the EU will maintain and improve our environmental protection, where cross-border collaboration is essential. Challenges like air pollution, sewage in the seas and threats to migrating species don’t stop at national borders, waiting for their passports to be checked. If we didn’t have the EU to bring together countries to work on these issues, then we’d have to invent it all over again.
In every corner of Britain, our EU membership is protecting the environment, wildlife and green spaces. Towns and cities blighted by air pollution are finally seeing our Government forced to act to cut the amount of dangerous particles we’re breathing. Precious habitats and species are protected by tough EU laws which help stop the overzealous development of the countryside. Our beaches – many of which were too filthy to enjoy not so long ago – are now cleaner. Our once-polluted seas and rivers are safer to swim in too. Young people enjoy a cleaner environment than their parents did at their age – but Brexit risks all of this progress.
Greens appreciate that the EU is not perfect and are campaigning for a better Europe. But, if you care about the environment, then the evidence for a ‘remain’ vote is indisputable. The bottom line is this: leaving the European Union would be an act of self-inflicted environmental vandalism.
Walkley Ward Green Party