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Electric Vehicle Future and Rewilding: Tackling the Climate Crisis Together

What is the connection between electric vehicles (EV) and rewilding our planet?

Net zero week

Mer is a proud supporter of Rewilding Britain, a charity whose vision is to see rewilding flourishing across 30% of Britain. Its work centres around reconnecting us with the natural world, sustaining communities, and tackling the interconnected species extinction crisis and climate emergency. 

In this blog, we explain the connection between Mer and Rewilding Britain’s work, and how our individual goals are united against the same threats to our planet: 

 

United in our mission to tackle climate breakdown

Mer and Rewilding Britain are united in our missions to tackle the threat of climate change and make our world a healthier, happier place. 

We recognise that climate catastrophe is an urgent, dangerous threat to our world and its inhabitants. There is an ever pressing need to change how we interact with and treat our natural world, so we can restore ecosystems, improve human, animal and plant health, and ensure our future world is one that generations to come can thrive in.  

How are we realising our missions?

  • Rewilding Britain’s mission is to see a massive upscaling of nature’s recovery across at least 30% of Britain’s land and sea by 2030, supporting natural forest and woodland, peatlands, rivers, moorlands, saltmarshes and healthy seas, as well as sustainable, green economies and rural communities. To achieve this, it champions rewilding in Britain, acting as a catalyst for debate and action and demonstrating the power of working with nature to tackle the climate emergency and the extinction crisis. Rewilding Britain influences policy, inspires public action and catalyses joined-up, positive practical action. It is inspiring a movement of people who understand that it’s not too late if together we take action now.  
  • Mer’s mission is to ensure there is no friction in bringing the electric mobility experience to life for more people across the UK, through building a reliable, future-fit public EV charging network and supporting companies and businesses transition their fleets to electric vehicles. We offer zero carbon, 100% renewable energy using only wind, hydro, and solar to our business, commercial landlords and local authority customers. 

The link between electric vehicle charging and rewilding ecosystems

Synergy: A shared ethos

Rewilding our landscapes and seas and installing EV charge points are fundamentally different practices. However, Mer and Rewilding Britain’s work is contributing to reducing the climate crisis in similar ways. 

Both are restorative

The greenhouse gas effect denotes the process of trapping heat close to Earth’s surface because of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.  

This results in devastating climate chaos, which we see in practice through extreme and destructive weather such as wildfires and flooding, rising sea levels, drought, loss of species and habitats, and disrupted food supply. 

Climate chaos does not just impact humans, but animals and plants also. Wildlife populations have decreased by an average of 69% since 1970 – one in six of our species is under threat of extinction on these shores. Populations of species will be adversely affected by global temperatures rising by more than 1.5°C. Global warming also causes ice and snow to melt, which cause sea levels to rise and coastal ecosystems to erode, whilst extreme flooding and wildfires are destructive to habitats and the species which occupy them. 

Rewilding can reduce the polluting emissions in our atmosphere that are contributing to climate chaos/breakdown: 

  • Restoring and protecting native woodland, peatlands, heaths and species-rich grasslands over 7 million hectares of Britain could capture and store 53 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum, which equates to over 12% of current UK greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Carbon is stored in marine and coastal ecosystems such as seabed sediments, mangroves, saltmarshes, seagrass, shellfish and kelp. Globally, the rewilding of these key blue carbon-sequestering ecosystems could deliver carbon dioxide mitigation amounting to 1.83 billion tonnes 
  • Rewilding gives species and ecosystems the resilience and space required to adapt to a changing climate, so that we mitigate against the potential devastating loss of species both in Britain and worldwide. 

 

Electric mobility reduces the transportation sector’s impact on climate chaos/breakdown: 

  • The transport sector accounts for 25% of carbon dioxide emissions globally, with almost 75% of this coming from road transportation. In the UK, a staggering 91% of UK transport emissions come from road transport. As we burn fossil fuels to power our petrol and diesel vehicles, we are contributing to global warming. 
  • Moving away from internal combustion engines (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) is helping to reduce the transportation sector’s contribution to climate change. Statkraft’s Low emissions scenario 2021 cites electrification as the biggest contributor to emission cuts, with emission reductions in transport being a method of achieving this. 
  • Research from the universities of Exeter, Nijmegen and Cambridge states that driving an electric car is better for the climate than a petrol car in 95% of the world. It projects that every second car on the streets across the world could be electric in 2050, which would reduce global CO2 emissions by up to 1.5 gigatonnes per year. 
  • Powering our EVs with renewable energy is even more environmentally friendly. Fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) are the largest contributor to global climate change – they are responsible for more than 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and almost 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions. By charging our vehicles with renewable sources, we are helping tackle climate change. 

By rewilding and electrifying, we can mitigate climate heating and reduce the impacts of climate breakdown. 

 

Both are restorative to our health

The World Health Organisation (WHO) labels air pollution as ‘the biggest environmental health risk of our time’ in their Clean Air, Blue Skies campaign.  

In 2022, the WHO found that 99% of the global population breathes air that exceeds WHO air quality limits. It estimates that air pollution is responsible for about 7 million premature deaths per annum globally, citing strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections like pneumonia.  

  • Petrol and diesel cars generate harmful pollutant substances, such as nitrogen oxides, which are harmful to our respiratory health. Ozone, or ‘smog’, is a harmful type of air pollution that occurs when sunlight reacts with the nitrogen oxides released from car exhausts. The WHO makes a direct link between vehicle emissions and air pollution, and calls for ‘a rapid intensification’ of actions at government level to ‘implement stricter vehicle emissions and efficiency standards.’ 
  • According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, we have lost approx. one billion acres of forest globally since 1990. Deforestation reduces the oxygen levels and increases the carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere, contributing to global warming. It also affects biodiversity – 80% of the world’s land animals and plants live in forests – and destroys communities – 250 million people, many of whom are among the world’s rural poor, live in forest and savannah areas. 

By achieving better air quality, we are protecting human health. 

Electric mobility positively impacts air pollution levels: 

  • Air pollution is significantly reduced when driving an EV, as there are no tailpipe emissions and reduced emissions from brake wear due to regenerative braking. 
  • And, charging our EVs with renewable energy helps reduce air pollution and protect our health. 

Rewilding can support efforts to reduce air pollution too: 

  • Trees help to filter the air we breathe. With rewilding, our first priority is to expand and connect existing native woodland as this is much more effective for carbon sequestration and natural flood management than tree planting. Where naturally available seed sources are too far away, we can give a helping hand, such as preparing the ground when necessary or sowing tree seeds.  
  • Our rapidly growing rewilding Network already connects more than 900 members rewilding on land and at sea. Together they are helping to propel rewilding to a whole new level – so we can all begin to enjoy a Britain rich in wildlife again, with healthy living systems soaking up millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide, and our lives enriched by wild nature and strong resilient communities, regenerative farms and nature-friendly businesses. 

Marie Negus, Partnerships & Development Manager at Rewilding Britain, said, “Nature is our life support system, our best carbon sink and our ally in mitigating the impacts of climate breakdown. Rewilding is already making a huge difference and inspiring a groundswell of hope, but we need much more if Britain is to benefit from large areas of land and sea restored to health – boosting biodiversity, soaking up carbon, and creating a diverse range of jobs and opportunities for local people. 

If nature is given the space to thrive and flourish, wildlife and habitats will benefit and so will we.” 

Elizabeth Warren, Head of Business Management at Mer UK, said ‘Mer is proud to support Rewilding Britain and its work in helping reconnect us with the natural world. At Mer, we are working to reduce the impact of transportation on the environment and facilitating the uptake of EVs with our sustainable EV charging solutions, in the hope that we can help communities across the UK and Europe thrive.’ 

To read more about and support Rewilding Britain’s work, visit its website 

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