Great news for nature! The Nature Restoration Law is continuing on its path to becoming law and it is largely thanks to Uplift members taking action.

Over a year ago the EU Commission introduced the Nature Restoration Law. It represents an attempt by the EU Commission to halt and reverse the collapse of our natural world and ensure a future for society across Europe by safeguarding clean water, protecting the future of farming and fishing, and insulating communities from flooding and extreme weather events. [1]  You would think that it would have unanimous support because no matter who we are or where we come from, everybody wants to have clean air, clean water, and healthy, affordable food.

Unfortunately, since June last year, a toxic debate has been raging about the proposed European Nature Restoration Law. Big agribusiness, fishing industry lobbyists, and politicians cynically scrambling for votes, have ensured that disinformation and fear have swamped any helpful discussion about this law. [2]

Throughout June, the Parliament committees were negotiating and voting on the NRL and all of them failed to come to an agreement. However, before the final committee vote on the law, Uplift members sent thousands of emails to our Irish representatives urging them to back a strong nature restoration law. We heard from a friend in Brussels that MEPs were worried by the amount of emails they received from Uplift members. After the vote, many of the Fine Gael MEPs who had taken a hard line against restoring nature, came out publicly softening their stances showing that hundreds of us taking action to hold our public representatives to account does make a difference. [3]

The NRL was then put to a vote by the entire parliament on the 12th of July. Once again, Uplift members sent thousands of emails to the Irish MEPs telling them to support the law.  The pressure worked. Every single Irish MEP voted to support the NRL and the vote passed by a very thin margin. However, there were some seriously bad amendments made to the text that gutted most of the ambition from the law. [4] This means that the law will continue through negotiations and the final text will be agreed upon hopefully before the end of the year. Now there is an opportunity to improve the law in these negotiations and ensure that it is sufficient to protect communities and restore nature. 

The fight is not over yet. No doubt the large agri-industry and fishing industry lobby groups will redouble their attacks on this law. Not because restoring nature would be harmful to their businesses, but because they see it as a challenge to their unquestioned dominance over the land, oceans, and systems that we all rely on to survive.

The Nature Restoration law is a chance to create an Ireland where our homes are protected from extreme weather events, the air is clean and healthy for us to breathe, we are confident that our drinking water is good for us, and we have access to nutritious food grown fairly. That is a future worth fighting for.

[1] Nature restoration law | EU Commission

[2] The EU Nature Restoration Law survived the vote in Parliament. What now? |BirdLife International

[3] ‘A bit late and a bit rich’: Irish MEPs criticised for environment law stance | The Examiner

[4] Weber fails to derail EU Green Deal, but Parliament agrees to a weakened Nature Restoration Law | The Examiner