OPW survey finds over half of people don’t know how to improve biodiversityGary Ibbotson 12 May 2022
A new survey carried out by the Office of Public Works (OPW) has found that 56 percent of people are unsure of how to help improve biodiversity, despite the overwhelming majority 90 percent wanting to play their part in improving it.
The findings come as the OPW launches its Biodiversity Action Strategy to improve biodiversity across its entire operations.
The OPW says its Biodiversity Action Strategy sets out how it will work towards promoting and protecting biodiversity in Ireland over the next five years.
The new Biodiversity Action Strategy will be implemented across OPW’s 100 offices, 780 heritage sites, 5,700 acres of gardens and parkland, 11,500km of drainage channels, and 142 flood relief schemes, and many projects on a range of public and private land.
In the strategy the OPW identified 48 specific actions across five themes that it will undertake to “embed biodiversity into all areas of its working brief,” it says.
Among these actions is an innovative proposal to develop a ‘Homes for Wildlife’ programme where it will take a leadership role in designing and adapting lands, buildings and waterway structures to provide homes for wildlife wherever possible including safe roosting sites for bats, and nesting sites for pollinators and birds.”
It also says it aims to increase public awareness and concern about biodiversity “particularly amongst younger people with up to 70 percent of young people ‘occasionally’ or ‘frequently’ discussing the topic with their parents, grandparents, or guardians.
“Despite this, a significant gap in knowledge exists as the research reveals that one in four people are unaware of any endangered species in Ireland,” it says.
This highlights the need for ongoing public engagement and outreach and the OPW is keen to continue to build on this work at a number of its sites. It will capitalise on the high level of expertise
Launching the Biodiversity Action Strategy, Minister for the OPW Patrick O’Donovan TD said: “We are learning more about nature and our dependency on nature, all of the time.
“Although the research shows us that 87 percent of Irish people understand the benefits of engagement with nature for their health and well-being, more than half the adult population don’t know or aren’t sure how to help support biodiversity.
“We need to do more.
“As an organisation, the OPW is committed to doing more to protect and enhance Ireland’s biodiversity.
“The publication of our new Biodiversity Action Strategy is a vital step which will guide our work as we meet this challenge, whether designing or adapting lands, buildings or waterway structures to provide homes for wildlife wherever possible.
“We also encourage the public to help us as we work across all OPW sites to secure the future for biodiversity in our country.”