THE BLOG
23/10/2018 08:33 BST | Updated 23/10/2018 08:33 BST

Britain Needs A People's Vote So We Can Finally Turn Our Attention To A More Pressing Concern - Climate Change

Brexit has been the disastrous distraction that has taken precious time and energy away from addressing the environmental challenges we face

PA Wire/PA Images

The People’s Vote march this weekend was attended by an estimated 700,000 citizens all seeking a voice in the final deal with an option to remain in the European Union. It was one of the UK’s largest protests on par with the 2003 march against the Iraq War with est. 750,000 protestors. Surely this strong message will be heard in Downing Street?

Yet news of an extension to Brexit negotiations has arisen due to the complexity of the Irish Border. Quite frankly, we have no time to be dithering on Brexit any longer: let the people decide with a People’s Vote. If there ever was reason to pause Brexit and extend negotiations it should be for environmental preservation and urgent action on our climate crisis.

Brexit has been the disastrous distraction that has taken precious time and energy that could have been spent addressing the environmental challenges we face. As I write, it has been 850 days since the referendum. According to latest science, we have likely lost between 127,800 and 170,000 species of plants and animals during Brexit negotiations,

A figure well above normal extinction rate due to the pressures us humans are putting on the planet. We are polluting our air, seas, soils and destroying habitats at an unprecedented rate in the name of GDP and to satiate an unhealthy obsession with growth and wealth.

We know the costs, we can see climate change happening now from the number and scale of extreme weather events taking place. We can feel the effects of poor air quality in our lungs. We weep at images of ocean creatures drowning in our plastic.

This short0sighted prioritising of right wing agenda has led to a decline in people power. The government has relocated staff from domestic environmental projects to help deal with Brexit complexities: 463 employees from Natural England have been either transferred or seconded since the referendum. With average working day being 7 hours, that’s a loss of 3,241 hours of (wo)man power per day, well over 1 million hours stolen since July 2016, time that could have been spent protecting the natural world.

This is time we simply do not have. The only border that is actually relevant right now is the Earth’s atmosphere which is a mere 300 miles (480 kilometers) protecting and sustaining all life.

I marched to end this negotiation nightmare, to quash the call for an extension and end this waste of time, and to help focus the world on the most pressing issue facing humanity: Climate change trumps Brexit now more than ever.