Last month, Nature took over Westminster for one week for the opening of WWF’s ‘A Rivers Runs Through It’ exhibit; an interactive display celebrating the Great British Countryside and putting the environment right at the heart of the political debate. The exhibit, launched on 17th October, was part of the WWF Nature Needs You campaign, which called for the government to tackle issues of river pollution and over-abstraction. The event was well attended by Rivers Trusts including representation from The Rivers Trust, South East Rivers Trust, Action for River Kennet, Ribble Rivers Trust and West Cumbria Rivers Trust. The spectacle included a river through the Upper Waiting Hall – a busy thoroughfare for Members of Parliament – and collaborative artwork by local children and artist Layla Andrews. The exhibit supported a week of events that celebrate the UK’s unique rivers, asking politicians to support the restoration of our environment. WWF Chief Executive Tanya Steele and MP Angela Smith spoke at the opening ceremony, joined by parliamentarians and people from across the country who care about improving the health of our rivers. The #NatureNeedsYou campaign. Campaign Manager, Barbara Cornejo Sesnic, has commented:
“The wildlife that lives in our rivers is in crisis. According to the 2016 Living Planet Report, populations of river and other freshwater wildlife have declined by 81% since 1970, faster than any other species group on the planet, and 13% of freshwater species are threatened with extinction in the UK. Despite big improvements over recent decades, four out of five rivers in England and Wales are failing to reach the required health standards. This is a result of pollution from farms and sewage, and unsustainable abstraction. “We greatly appreciate the Houses of Parliament hosting us and for so many members of parliament attending. This display places the environment firmly at the centre of the Brexit process and makes the health of our rivers an undeniable priority to everyone. The WWF is calling for the UK Government to place nature at the heart of politics, to restore and safeguard the environment for generations to come.”To read more about the campaign click here.