An overwhelming majority of Europeans are concerned about the loss of biodiversity and support stronger EU action to protect nature, the European Commission (EC) said on Monday.
A new survey showed that 96% of the more than 27,000 citizens interviewed said they have a responsibility to protect nature, which is also essential for tackling climate change, according to the EC.
The biggest perceived threats to biodiversity are air, soil and water pollution, man-made disasters and climate change, according to the Biodiversity Eurobarometer survey.
Intensive farming, intensive forestry and over-fishing – by far the most important drivers of biodiversity loss – are increasingly but not yet fully recognized as major threats to biodiversity, the survey showed.
"The Eurobarometer survey reveals awareness is generally increasing on the meaning of biodiversity, its importance, threats and measures to protect it," the EC noted.
The Commission added that citizens' opinions are in line with the goals of the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020. This strategy aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem service, and is key to the objectives of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives that form the backbone of the EU's policy to protect nature.
"The latest Biodiversity Eurobarometer survey clearly demonstrates three things: Europeans care deeply about nature and biodiversity; they recognize climate change and biodiversity loss as two sides of the same coin and they expect the EU to act in order to safeguard nature," EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella was quoted as saying.
By Ebru Sengul