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Dr Jane Goodall backs action plan for NZ environment

World-renowned conservationist Dr Jane Goodall and a coalition of Aotearoa's leading environmental organisations have released an ambitious plan for reversing New Zealand’s environmental crisis.

“But it will take urgent, collaborative action from all sectors of society to see the plan succeed,” Dr Goodall warns.

The Aotearoa Deal for Nature was developed by the Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand, Forest & Bird, WWF NZ, Greenpeace NZ, the Environmental Defence Society, Environment and Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa (ECO), and has been endorsed and signed by Dr Goodall.

Video footage available here
Aotearoa Deal for Nature here

The Aotearoa Deal for Nature is an unprecedented agreement on minimum priorities and actions for protecting and restoring New Zealand’s imperiled wildlife and environment.

“Nature is in crisis and we need to take action right now,” Dr Goodall urges, adding that all New Zealanders have an important part to play.

“This Deal for Nature is really important because of the state of our world today, the massive problems we’re facing – we're going through a very dark time,” says Dr Goodall.

“Our natural world is in crisis. But by working together, we can prevent disaster. The Aotearoa Deal for Nature provides a unified and accessible action plan to restore and protect our unique environment, for all New Zealanders,” says Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague.

WWF-New Zealand Chief Executive Livia Esterhazy says the Deal for Nature highlights the importance of environmental protection and joint action.

"It's not just biodiversity and the environment that are at risk, but we too are at risk. It is a terrifying prospect, but we are not without hope. Because we know, through collaboration, together it's possible for humans and nature to thrive,” says Ms Esterhazy.

Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand Founder and Chief Executive Dr Melanie Vivian says the deal would provide impetus for environmental action from government, companies, communities and individuals.

“We face these environmental crises and it can feel overwhelming. But it is vital that all New Zealanders take action. To have an action plan, and one that comes from a collective – that is empowering. Our next step will be to outline how we all play our part in the plan,” says Dr Vivian.

“We are living through the sixth great extinction – it is a climate and biodiversity emergency – and it will only be through people power that we can save the world,” says Dr Russel Norman, Greenpeace Executive Director.

“The document is a call to action for all New Zealanders – from the top down and the bottom up – to take tangible and meaningful steps to care for nature,” says Dr Greg Severinsen, senior policy advisor at the Environmental Defence Society. “That is not only to avert further degradation or stop people doing things, but also to strive towards a positive and transformational vision for the future that enhances nature and people’s overall wellbeing at the same time.”

“The good news is that we can reverse the decline and make environmental gains if we all mobilise and support the changes needed. It can be done if we have the will – and we owe it to the environment, the kids and the future to do that,” says Cath Wallace, of ECO.

Recommendations in the plan include to:

• protect 30 percent of all ecosystems by 2030

• increase funding for addressing threats posed by invasive plants, pathogens, and animals

• implement policy to end mining on and under conservation land and strengthen conservation legislation

• reform the Resource Management Act, so it offers greater environmental protection

• diversify farming and reduce livestock numbers, fertiliser use, irrigation and sedimentation

• protect wetlands and restore freshwater systems

• protect 30 percent of each marine habitat with true marine protection areas

• reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and put a price on emissions from agriculture

• improve public transport

• account for environmental costs in economic decision making

• end all new oil and gas exploration

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