VNR: Halting the loss of Europe's biodiversity by 2010
42% of Europe's native mammals are threatened with extinction, 43% of birds, 45% of butterflies, 52% of freshwater fish. The list goes on and makes terrifying reading. Worldwide, the loss of species is even more alarming.
These species form part of the Earth's biological diversity, or biodiversity - the complex but fragile web of life on which we all depend for essential goods like food and medecines as well as for vital 'services' such as regulating the climate and providing clean air and water.
On 22 May 2006, the European Commission is launching an Action Plan aimed at ensuring that the European Union meets its commitment to halt the loss of biodiversity in Europe by 2010. This target is still achievable if action is greatly speeded up.
Much of the damage to our ecosystems is happening as a result of human activity such as inappropriate land use and development. So how can Europe develop its economy while conserving its biodiversity?
A Video News Release is being made available which shows a living example of how these two goals can be met at the same time. It focuses on a major industrial development - the expansion of the French port of Le Havre.
The one billion euro extension to France's biggest container port destroyed important breeding grounds for birds and was going to have a huge impact on the Seine estuary - a protected natural area.
The film charts the remarkable relationship which developed between the port and environmental groups as nearly 50 million euro was spent to build a new resting island for seabirds, restore important mudflats in the Seine estuary and create a new "ecological" beach.
Port managers from Le Havre and the Maison de l'Estuaire environmental group explain the project, and the video also includes interviews with EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas and Tony Long, European policy director of WWF.