Imagine you’re a duck.
You know that, to most people, you’re less important than health, family, jobs, homes, education or security.
You know that you’re also less important than how the UK exits the EU, or whether Scotland exits the UK.
But, as of June 8, there will have been three general elections, a referendum (two if you’re Scottish), national elections and local elections. And you didn’t get a mention in any.
Which is a bit weird. Because in this time of national identities, nothing says ‘UK’ more than ducks. From village ponds to our world class collection of estuaries, the UK has a good claim to be the global number one place for ducks. It’s something we can be proud of.
The wetlands you live on (remember you’re still a duck) protect our families, homes and businesses from flooding, drought and pollution by regulating water. They can store more carbon than rainforests. The wetlands also provide our water for drinking, and for agriculture. In other countries with poorer water or food security, famine and conflict develop.
From national treasures like the Lake District or the Highlands, to your nearest pond or stream, our watery duck habitat is enjoyed by millions of us daily.
So ducks – or more accurately our national watery ecosystem for which ducks are a flagship – are underlyingly crucial to most of those other things are important to people and politicians. A few years ago, the government conservatively valued wetlands’ annual contribution to the economy at £7bn, but acknowledged it was probably much more.
As a duck, you won’t be asking much of politicians during this general election. It would just be nice to be promised that the laws protecting you in five year’s time will be as good as, or better than they are now. And that there will be targets which are well-funded, and for which the Government will be accountable.
Because if we forget about ducks, then we forget about their wetland habitats, which means more flooding, more drought, more pollution, less drinking water, less food, poorer health and poorer security.
This general election, WWT is calling on all parties to not put politics ahead of the water, air and wildlife we rely on.
Let’s put ducks back in politics. Because no one is better qualified to put a bill through Parliament…