Hertford and Stortford MP Julie Marson on the need for difficult, more impactful decisions to be taken in the climate emergency
Julie Marson, MP Hertford and Stortford, writes exclusively for the Bishop's Stortford Independent...
It is good to note that we continue to make progress in the fightback against Covid-19 and can now enjoy slightly loosened lockdown measures – though it is essential that we stay disciplined in the weeks ahead to avoid taking a backwards step.
I, like millions across this country and around the world, was horrified by the brutal killing of George Floyd on May 25. As I said in my statement last week, I am proud of the refusal of our community to countenance racism, wherever it rears its ugly head, and many people have understandably been motivated to protest. This is a vital part of our free society, but I absolutely condemn those who have resorted to violence and disorder. To attack our police and deface our war memorials, including the Cenotaph, demeans a just cause. It is also important to remember the crisis we are living through, and to maintain social distancing always. We have made so much progress which must not be undone now. You can see my full statement on the killing and subsequent protests on my website www.juliemarson.org.uk.
It is a terrifying but real possibility that Covid-19 is a precursor to similar or even more debilitating viruses in the future. A host of deadly diseases, like SARS, Ebola and MERS, are thought to have jumped to humans from wild animals in the way that Covid-19 is believed to have done. And with 700,000 uncatalogued viruses able to transfer from animals to humans, this is a very pressing concern.
This week I wrote for The Times' Red Box, with my colleague Ruth Edwards MP, about why conservation goes hand in hand with public health, and its critical role in the prevention of infectious disease and future pandemics.
Changes to our climate, like deforestation and global warming, have a massive impact on the cross-species transfer of disease. Humans pushing further and further into natural territories, destroying habitats and farming on wildland, creates ideal breeding grounds for new strains of infectious diseases by forcing potentially disease-carrying wild animals closer to humans. And as the world's temperature increases, the behaviour of many wild species changes with it, forcing animals from the intense heat of the tropics into new regions, bringing with them known killers like Zika and dengue fever.
The environment and nature are precious resources damaged and lost by human activity, and over the past 60 years we have stretched our planet's resources to the absolute limit. Time is therefore precious and the need for progress paramount. In a very dark moment for the population, though, the planet has been given a rare opportunity. We have a chance now to reset the agenda and shape a better and healthier planet of the future. For this change to be realised it must be built on collaboration. In a globalised world of interdependency, we need each other's commitment to succeed.
When examining the global fightback to the climate emergency, although progress has been made, we have too often picked the low hanging-fruit at the expense of more difficult but more impactful decisions being taken. There is an enormous amount of work still to do, and the sudden emergence of Covid-19 and our recognition of how these viruses start demonstrate why we do not have the time to continue just making the easy choices when it comes to conservation anymore.
I will be doing more work on this subject in my role with the Conservative Environment Network and will push the Government to continue their global leadership in conservation for public health.
A lot of my Parliamentary time this week is being spent as a member of the Domestic Abuse Bill Committee. This is the process known as the committee stage of a piece of legislation and involves detailed evidence gathering and line-by-line scrutiny of the Bill. Having spoken in the Commons debate in support of the Bill, it is an honour to have a role in delivering this landmark legislation which, among other things, provides for the first time a statutory definition of domestic abuse and also establishes a Domestic Violence Commissioner, independent of Government, to focus on preventing domestic abuse and improving the protection and support given to those affected by it, including improving the criminal justice system.
As ever, my office is open should you need support or advice. Please email me directly on email@example.com and we will do our best to assist.