Last month, Liberal Democrat peer Kate Parminter allowed us to publish her Burntwood Lecture to the Institution of Environmental Sciences in which she talked about the challenges Brexit poses to the environment.
Now the Institution has kindly said that we can publish some of their photographs of the event.
During her lecture, Kate talked about incorporating legislation into UK law, establishing systems for compliance and enforcement, joining EU frameworks and improving on EU policy. She concluded:
It should be clear that achieving this aim – this vision of a government and society and economy fully committed to environmental goals – will require an immense amount of persuasion. There will be many voices in favour of the first vision I set out – of a deregulated cheap-labour economy which devalues nature and despoils the environment – though of course they wouldn’t describe it that way – and they need countering with argument and facts and passion.
In many ways the environmental movement in the UK – by which I include all of us who care about the natural environment – has had it relatively easy in recent years. The EU framework has been, mostly, a good one, and much of the argument and lobbying has taken place at a fairly technocratic level and mostly in Brussels, far away from public view. It was too easy, during the referendum, for the Leave campaign to paint all regulations emanating from Brussels as absurdly bureaucratic, or costly, or somehow un-British. At the same time the Remain campaign almost entirely failed to paint a positive picture of the EU, despite the fact that a substantial majority of people agree with the principle that countries need to cooperate in tackling environmental problems.
We won’t be able to rely, after Brexit, on the EU winning our battles for us. We will have to fight for every piece of environmental legislation, and demonstrate why it matters, not just for middle-class liberals like myself – and, probably, most of you – but for ordinary men and women, for the 52 per cent as well as the 48 per cent. We need to show how an ambitious climate policy is good for jobs and growth and prosperity across the country, through new renewable energy industries and electric car plants and home insulation, through stewardship of the land, through the revival of areas devastated by the end of traditional industries where there are no jobs and no hope. We need to show why protecting nature is good for people’s health and the economy. We need to show why cutting waste and sharing resources makes people’s lives better.
I and my colleagues in Parliament will try to do all that. But we need your help. Scientists & practitioners like yourselves will have a crucial role to play, alongside businesses and campaigning NGOs and community groups and individual citizens.
We need to take environmental arguments out of the technocratic closet and make them popular. We need to make sure that the government – any government – can’t ignore the public desire for a better environment and a better life. And we need to win these arguments, for our children’s and our country’s future.
Kate’s full lecture is available here and we have added the photos to that post as well. We are very grateful to the Institution for sending them to us.