#Pledge for Nature January 17, 2017

Greener Birmingham Pledge for the Natural Environment

Martineau Gardens is standing up for Nature and we invite you to join us and Greener Birmingham in signing a pledge committing to protect the natural environment. A coalition of organisations in Birmingham, Greener Birmingham, have united to ensure that the natural environment remains protected at a time when budgets for parks, green spaces and the natural world are reducing.

Georgia Stokes, CEO of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country explained: “We are incredibly fortunate to have an abundance of beautiful parks and green spaces in this city providing places for children to play, opportunities for exercise and for communities to come together, and homes for wildlife. We all benefit from the natural world even in ways we don’t realise including absorption of carbon dioxide and improved air quality, soaking up excess water helping to prevent flooding, and multiple health benefits. Research shows just looking at a green space can help us feel happier and less stressed.

At the moment funding for these essential spaces comes from a small budget from the local authority which is reducing each year. Management of green space does have a cost but the return on that investment is great. We are asking Birmingham City Council to rethink the cuts to the budget for parks that will secure the essential roles of park keepers and rangers.”

Sarah Royal of Birmingham Open Spaces Forum added: “Friends of park groups donate many thousands of hours of their time every year to improve green spaces for the local communities. They add real value to any investment from the local authority or from other sectors. Friends groups are volunteers and need to work with rangers to achieve results.”

Georgia continued: “Long term a more fundamental shift is required to secure these vital spaces. We need a different model. We all benefit from these green spaces: individuals, businesses, public health, Local Enterprise Partnerships and the West Midlands Combined Authority. We all benefit and we must all be prepared to invest in these spaces for our communities now and in the future.”

Caroline Hutton, Director at Martineau Gardens, an independent charity and Community Garden said:“We’re giving our full backing to this. Although we are but 2.5 acres in size, we are a valued well-loved community space. Green spaces bring people and wildlife together. We have over 60 volunteers helping to look after the Gardens. Thousands of Birmingham people visit us every year, including hundreds of Birmingham school children who come to learn about their natural environment. People volunteer here to improve their mental health, we have over 60 species of birds and have a diverse species lis of insects and mammals including pipistrelle bats. She added: We’re urging Birmingham people and organisations to sign-the pledge.”

The pledge asks people to do everything in their power to:
● support the development of a 25 year plan for the environment recognising the importance of all green spaces in the city and across the West Midlands Combined Authority.
● secure investment to protect, manage and enhance the green spaces and corridors of the city.
● actively manage land within my control to enhance benefits to the natural environment.
To take the pledge for Birmingham’s Natural Environment and to find out more about Greener Birmingham go to ‘I Pledge’ on The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country’s website: www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/Ipledge