As a global community we have faced unprecedented challenges since the outbreak of coronavirus. All manner of work and activity across society was rightly put on hold as addressing the pandemic became top priority. But the climate and nature crises have not gone away.

As governments turn their attention to rebuilding our economy and society, we must make sure we build a future that’s fair, green and healthy for all. Our only option is a green recovery. 

Lockdown has emphasised the need for this. Many people found a new appreciation for nature, but we don’t all have the same access. The 2020 Green Space Index found 2.7 million people in the UK don’t have green space within a ten-minute walk of home. As part of the recovery, governments must give greater priority to defending and enhancing green spaces – especially woods.

What is a green recovery?

A ‘green recovery’ is a phrase none of us had heard just three months ago. But it’s quickly becoming a popular term, especially among environmental organisations. It advocates joining up tackling the nature and climate crises with recovery from the pandemic.  

We’ve yet to see ‘green recovery’ defined properly, but we believe:

  1. In recovering from the pandemic, government action to help our economy and society must also address the climate and nature emergencies.
  2. The pandemic will impact investments, policies and regulations. Decisions in these areas must still set us firmly on the path to net-zero and restoration of the natural environment.
  3. Native trees and woods must be part of the recovery. We must protect and restore existing woods and significantly increase canopy cover.

What does that mean in practice?

A ‘green recovery’ is not one thing, one policy or one piece of legislation. It is much more than that and should be the foundation for many decisions and policies. Every step we take to recovery, at a global, national and local level, must also help put us on course for net-zero emissions.

It includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Investment decisions must show that nature is considered a necessity, not a luxury. Funding for nature should grow, recognising that we need to show leadership when it comes to nature based solutions to climate change. This is especially important in advance of Glasgow hosting COP 26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in 2021. 
  • The recovery must not compromise the ambition of new legislation and policy, including the Environment Bill, Agriculture Bill and the upcoming England Tree Strategy in England. These need to be at the core of the recovery, along with similar action by policymakers across the UK.
  • Any infrastructure projects aimed at boosting the economy need to work alongside nature and ancient woodland, not against it. Investment needs to help us reduce our impact on nature and climate, not threaten it further.

What can you do to help?

We’re a proud partner of The Climate Coalition, and together we’re asking MPs to put people, climate and nature at the heart of our nation’s recovery.

You can sign up to lobby your MP until October 2020, and sign the Climate Coalition’s declaration pressing for Government to lead the UK towards a healthier, greener, fairer future.

Learn more about trees and climate change