These are the powerful words of globally acclaimed Welsh actor, musician and now nature ambassador, Iwan Rheon. In a heartfelt letter addressed to the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe, Rheon urges the commissioner to put nature at the heart of Wales’ future.
The future generations report due to be released in Spring 2020 will set out what the Commissioner believes should be a priority for the Welsh Government in order to create a better Wales for future generations.
It is for this reason that WWF are asking people in Wales to join together this Thursday 19th December and make their voices heard for Welsh nature. WWF Cymru is asking people across Wales to share their thoughts and passions for why nature should be protected. By using the hashtag #OurFutureWales and #WeNeedNature on the 19th of December, your posts will be shared with the Future Generations Commissioner to demonstrate the nations need for a brighter future for people and nature.
Rheon remarks, “my vision for Wales is one full of wildlife. It is imperative that we preserve the wealth of beauty held in our small nation…I want to be able to share that Wales with my son – one full of nature. But Welsh nature is in a fragile state. Despite some success stories, our wildlife continues to decline.”
He goes on to say that he is saddened to “no longer hear the symphony of bird song and number of animals” that he remembers of his homeland, and that he wants to see the land the way his “Taid” did years ago.
Rheon is not alone in his concerns. In a recent survey conducted by WWF, 68% of Welsh people said they are concerned future generations will suffer from a decline in the natural world.
Nia Jones, Postgrad Researcher School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University, said “The natural spaces and scenery of Wales is some of the best around. Having been the environment officer for my student’s union and co-founded The No Straw Strand to reduce plastic within my university, it has always been my personal endeavour to protect our natural world. Everything I campaign for is to create a better space for both us and the species that live within it.”
Jess, McQuade, Head of Policy WWF Cymru, says, “Nature is not just a pretty addition to enjoy on a weekend walk. It is our life support system, the very foundation of our economy, health and wellbeing and the cornerstone of our tourism industry.
“We depend on it for clean air and water, fertile soils, the food we eat, and to attract investment to Wales. But it is declining at an alarming rate, we know nearly 4000 species have been lost from Wales in the past half century alone.
“We are proud of our spectacular landscapes and natural heritage. Nature is at the very heart of our national identity, and for Wales to thrive it must be a part of our future. If we do not recognise nature’s vital importance now, we will rob future generations of their life support system and wellbeing.”