Joint Statement on World Migratory Bird Day: re-evaluating people’s relationship with nature

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On World Migratory Bird Day, we pause to recognise the remarkable journeys made by millions of water birds every year, in some cases from pole to pole. These birds travel from wetland to wetland and traverse continents using resources with great efficiency only to face challenges caused by human clumsiness, inefficiency and greed. The recent container spill disaster of the MSC Zoë, off the coast of the Wadden Sea World Heritage site, exemplifies how ill-prepared we are to deal with the unexpected, even in a country such as the Netherlands.  Beaches, dunes, salt marshes are littered with tiny plastic nurdles/pellets – just one example of avoidable environmental pollution that diminishes ecosystems globally – and which can be devastating to nature. To become part of the solution to pollution – and to safeguard this miraculous and awe-inspiring waterbird migration – we all need to re-evaluate our relationship with nature.

Lutz Jacobi, Director of the Wadden Sea Society:

“It is confronting and disarming to see the masses of trash that washed and continue to wash up on the Wadden Sea coasts, particularly the styrofoam and plastic pellets that are completely unnecessary products or could be transported in another form. World Migratory Bird Day is an opportunity for all of us to be humbled by the efficiency of migratory birds and rethink our own inefficiency.”

Jane Madgwick, CEO of Wetlands International:

“As we have heard this week from the UN report on the state of biodiversity and ecosystems (by IPBES), loss of biodiversity is a tragedy in itself and a threat to humans. The miraculous journeys of waterbirds across seas and continents helps to remind us of how we are connected and of our responsibility to work together to safeguard precious natural resources – for all of nature and ourselves. Let’s celebrate World Migratory Bird Day and re-energise our efforts to keep wetlands healthy for people and nature.”