Young Scot and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) have joined forces to establish a bold, new National Youth Advisory Group named ReRoute. Made up of 14 young volunteers aged 13-23, the group will gather insights and ideas on biodiversity. They will be involved in actively engaging other young people to consider the importance of the Scottish Government’s 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity and the Route Map to 2020.
The Biodiversity Route Map to 2020 sets out six ‘Big Steps for Nature’ that need to be addressed in order to meet our international biodiversity obligations set by the Convention of Biological Diversity for 2020 and improve Scotland’s natural environment. The six steps are designed to support nature and the many benefits it provides us all in the shape of clean air, flood protection, climate change resilience, health and wellbeing and a thriving economy. They are:
1. Protect and restore nature and landscapes (Ecosystem restoration)
2. Recognise and appreciate the benefits nature provides (Investment in natural capital)
3. Develop and utilise greenspace for health and education benefits
4. Conserve and enhance wildlife in Scotland
5. and 6. – Improving stewardship of our land, freshwater and marine and coastal areas (sustainable management)
This visionary approach means the young people will be at the heart of key decisions needed to help halt the loss of biodiversity in Scotland and help to ensure that more young people are connected to, appreciate and benefit from their natural environment.
In a recent survey conducted by Young Scot on the subject of nature, 89% of the young people who took part considered nature and the outdoors important and 74% of the participants said they would like to learn more about it. However, the survey also revealed that only 15% had heard of the Biodiversity Route Map to 2020 or our international targets.
ReRoute member Julia Young said:
“I’m looking forward to ReRoute getting the chance to talk to other young people and having a sense of achievement in getting them interested and engaged in nature. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to get involved in a visionary project that will affect everyone in this country.
“I think the work that we are doing is going to be important because this really puts young people right at the centre of making decisions about our future. I’m excited that we are getting this amazing opportunity to work together with SNH and the Scottish Government to raise awareness of the issues and projects in the Route Map to 2020 throughout Scotland and that we will be playing a key role in helping the country reach its targets.”
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr Aileen McLeod said:
“I am delighted that Young Scot is working with SNH to engage young people with biodiversity and inform them of the Biodiversity Route Map. I launched the Route Map last year at an event in Easterhouse where students from local schools alongside other community members have helped to convert a derelict site into a garden rich in wildflowers and home to water voles.
“It is clear from Young Scot’s work that Scotland’s young people care strongly about nature and this project is a great opportunity for them to consider the important issues surrounding biodiversity. ReRoute will help to engage more young people in the vital task of looking after our natural environment.”
For more information on Young Scot and Scottish Natural Heritage, please visit young.scot or snh.gov.uk