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Europe's environmental success story

Published måndag 9 september 2013 kl 15.00
"Things are changing for the better."
(5:08 min)
Photo: Länsstyrelsen

We tend to hear about the natural environment in terms of habitat destruction and endangered species. This may still be true in large parts of the world, but in Europe at least, it appears the news is much more positive. That's the message of an open air photography exhibition currently being held in central Stockholm.

As office workers, tourists and fathers with prams wonder through the display, I caught up with the exhibition's organiser, Staffan Widstrand.

Widstrand explains that in much of Europe, all large mammals, large birds and sea mammals are making a dramatic recovery in numbers.

He says that all of these creatures have been the target of some form of environmental protection.

This process has been further supported by national and EU legislation banning the use of heavy metals and other damaging chemicals.

There appears to be a link between successful conservation initiatives and EU membership, Widstrand goes on, with the recovery in animal numbers tending to be strongest in states that have been members if the bloc longest.

Volunteers, land owners and NGOs have also all played a part in ensuring this resurgence, adds Widstrand.

Biodiversity remains a problem however. Despite this, Widstrand remains optimistic for the future.

"Things are changing, for the better," he says.

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