Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Ceisteanna - Questions
National Risk Assessment
I asked that the risk to biodiversity be included in our debate on this issue last year. I asked that it be included again this year, and I made a submission through the consultation process to that end. In my lifetime we have lost half of the mass of wildlife, including invertebrates, on this planet. Half of the wildlife in the world has disappeared. We are at risk of losing 37 bird species, one third of our bumblebee species, salmon, eel and the freshwater pearl mussel, among other species, in this country. We tend not to notice these because they are small or hidden or take place over time. However, some day we will wake up and realise that all the other risks were minute compared to the risk of humanity inhabiting a planet where the natural world has been destroyed, frayed and torn apart.
Biodiversity is connected to climate, given the loss of habitat due to climate change. Loss of biodiversity will give us an indicator as to how we are doing on climate change. We need to take loss of biodiversity seriously, not for economic reasons but for reasons of our very sanity and of our sense of the world we are living in. We need a national land use plan. We need to stop burning the hills and cutting the hedgerows, which is what the Government is trying to pass legislation on at the moment. Such a move will destroy habitats unnecessarily.
There was a debate earlier about cutting hay, and it was suggested that we bend the rules slightly because the weather is good at the moment. However, the RTÉ "Prime Time" programme last week showed what happens when the rules are bent on matters concerning nature. A risk to biodiversity should be included in the risk assessment. It is one of the big risks we face. Its inclusion might change what Government does and convince it to take the loss of biodiversity seriously.