EU Parliament Advances Nature Restoration Law But Setbacks Remain

The European Vegetarian Union (EVU) welcomes the recent passing of the Nature Restoration Law in the European Parliament (EP) on 12 July, which sets the stage for enhanced biodiversity and climate action across the European Union.

While applauding this significant step towards environmental preservation (even if some of the amendments voted through are disappointing), the EVU emphasises the need for further improvements and especially more recognition for the role of sustainable diets and food production in the EU’s climate goals.

The Nature Restoration Law envisions a habitable environment that guarantees the well-being of current and future generations. The legislation aims to ensure that the land and seas maintain their capacity to provide the essential goods and services on which our lives and economies depend. It aligns with the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 which recognises that addressing climate change involves not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also safeguarding nature.

Ronja Berthold, EVU Policy Manager, expressed her enthusiasm for the Nature Restoration Law’s approval but highlighted the importance of acknowledging the relationship between the environment and sustainable diets. “While we celebrate the approval of the Nature Restoration Law, we must not overlook the link between nature conservation farming and our dietary choices. Promoting plant-based farming and shifting our diets can significantly contribute to reducing environmental impacts and restoring ecosystems. As the European Parliament addresses environmental issues, it should also prioritise measures that promote plant-based alternatives.”

In contrast to the positive strides made with the Nature Restoration Law, another significant environmental legislation faced setbacks. The day before the Nature Restoration law, the EP voted on the European Commission’s proposal to revise the bloc’s industrial emission rules. The vote however witnessed a watering-down of the European Commission’s proposal, excluding cattle farms and lowering the number of targeted farms. This outcome has been celebrated by conservative EU parties and farming groups, presenting a clear challenge to the EU’s broader Green Deal objectives.

The EVU recognises that addressing industrial emissions and the agricultural sector is critical to achieving sustainability goals. “The passing of the Nature Restoration Law marks a significant milestone in the EU’s commitment to preserving biodiversity and combating climate change. However, we must recognise that more needs to be done to create a truly sustainable future,” stated Ronja Berthold. “By integrating plant-based diets into the broader environmental agenda, we can make a profound impact on both our health and the health of our planet. The European Vegetarian Union stands ready to work with policymakers to create a more sustainable food system that benefits nature, animals, and people alike.”

As the European Union advances its efforts to protect the environment, addressing the interconnection between nature restoration, sustainable diets, and industrial emissions remains essential to secure a healthier and greener future for all. The EVU calls for further work and commitment to the EU’s climate goals by policymakers, environmentalists, and food advocates to pave the way for a more sustainable and compassionate Europe.

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