Environmental challenges are everywhere. There is an urgent need to stop biodiversity losses and to improve air, water and soil quality – to name but a few problem areas.
Among examples of global environmental problems, the loss of bees is symbolic. Bees’ well-being and role as pollinators are significant for biodiversity. More than 50% of bee colonies are in decline compared to figures from only a few years ago. Data in other areas point to further alarming issues.
Poor air quality in urban areas shows the urgent need to boost efforts. Over half of the urban population could be touched by pollution levels which are above the WHO’s guidelines. In the EU, this may result in hundreds of thousands of premature deaths yearly.
The situation is no better at sea or on land. An example with a strong environmental impact is the widespread use of disposable plastic shopping bags. Billions of disposable bags are used yearly around the world and plastic bags, while only used for an average of a few minutes, remain in landfills or oceans for thousands of years.
The EESC is working to promote an effective and progressive EU environmental policy and to find solutions contributing to better environmental protection and more efficient use of natural resources.
In addition to providing policy advice, the EESC is also taking a hands-on approach to helping preserve local biodiversity through practical, small-scale projects, such as having “green roofs” or keeping beehives on top of its building.
The adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change has signalled a new era of global cooperation for the world to tackle climate mitigation and adaptation in order to keep the global temperature rise below 2ºC.
The EESC is very active on climate issues in support of the Paris Agreement, with meetings organised to encourage active civil society participation. The EESC produces opinions that cover a wide range of issues such as climate justice, a fair transition to a low-carbon economy and the need for multi-stakeholder, multi-level climate governance collaboration. The EESC takes part in the annual UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties and in climate-oriented civil society summits that bring together non-state players.
Every inhabitant of the European Union has the opportunity to cast his supportive vote on 26 May whereby people can opt for those who support the protection of people, plants and animals, and together want to support working for the protection of the Earth with the EESC.
Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: De Europese Unie – de Milieu-uitdagingen en uw stem