More citizens calling for greater nature protection

More citizens calling for greater nature protection


Almost nine out of ten Europeans believe that biodiversity loss – the decline and possible extinction of animal species, flora and fauna, natural habitats and ecosystems in Europe – is a problem, according to a new survey.

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Environment Commissioner Janez PotoĨnik said: "It's good to see that public opinion is increasingly aware of how important biodiversity is. I hope political leaders will translate this concern into tangible action to deliver what we have agreed in the EU Biodiversity Strategy."

Almost four in ten respondents (38 %) to the Flash Eurobarometer survey say that they already make a personal effort to protect biodiversity, a proportion that has increased slightly compared with 2007 (34 %).Eight in ten Europeans (78 %) say that they buy eco-friendly products, such as those that are organic or locally produced, to help fight biodiversity loss.

According to the survey responses, Europeans protect biodiversity for a variety of reasons:
· Nine out of ten Europeans agree (93 %), and six out of ten (62 %) very much agree that it is important to halt biodiversity loss because our well-being and quality of life is based upon nature and biodiversity.
· More than eight out of ten Europeans agree (87 %) that it is important because biodiversity is indispensable for the production of goods such as food, fuel and medicines.
· Three quarters of Europeans agree (75 %) that it is important because Europe will get poorer economically due to the loss of biodiversity.

A majority of Europeans – 65 % – totally agree that the EU should increase the areas where nature is protected in Europe. Much of the EU's efforts to protect biodiversity centre round Natura 2000 (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/), a vast network of protected areas that now covers almost 18 % of Europe's landmass. But the survey showed an upward trend in awareness of the network, but from a low level – around three quarters of respondents (73 %) have still not heard of the network. In addition, more than seven out of ten respondents totally agree that the EU should better inform citizens about the importance of biodiversity.

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