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WWF Switzerland launches new campaign

The Swiss branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature has launched a new campaign to try to persuade the Swiss to use more renewable sources of energy. The organisation warned that unless this is done, the country's natural resources are in danger.

This content was published on March 30, 2000 - 20:41

The Swiss branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature has launched a new campaign to try to persuade the Swiss to use more renewable sources of energy. The organisation warned that unless this is done, the country's natural resources are in danger.

"The volume of Switzerland's glaciers have dwindled by 50 per cent while their surface area has shrunk by around 40 per cent," Brigitta Hellat, a senior member of WWF Switzerland explained.

The organisation says renewable sources of energy, in particular solar energy, must replace the use of fossil fuels. For this reason, WWF Switzerland is supporting a people's initiative which goes to a nationwide vote on September 24. Swiss voters will be deciding on whether to boost the amount of energy obtained from the sun, through the taxation of non-renewable energy resources like nuclear energy and fossil fuels.

Carol Franklin Engler, the director of the organisation, says that this initiative is realistic and should not go the same way as an initiative to halve road traffic, which was widely rejected earlier this month.

"We think that the situation is totally different because people realise that energy is something that we need. They realise that we're not going to be able to survive if we don't invest in renewable energy. And we have the other advantage that all the people in the mountains and also many people in industry are in favour of this initiative," she said.

The WWF stresses that its new campaign, "We Are The Climate", is not promoting any radical chage in lifestyle. However, it says furthering practises such as recycling will go some way towards positively influencing the current trend of environmental degradation.

"We propose that we move the energy that we use from non-renewable fossil energy, which means oil, coal, nuclear energy, to renewable energy which is solar energy, water, and wood, for example. That means that we can heat our houses. That means that we can remain as mobile as we are now. But, cars have to be more efficient and they have to work on different energy," says Franklin Engler.

Similar warnings have been issued by environmental groups for many years now, but it argues that it is time the Swiss take a reality check and observe the state of turmoil Mother Nature is in as a result of the destruction.

Recalling last year's series of avalanches in February, May's flooding in several parts of the country, and December's devastating storms, WWF Switzerland said there was enough evidence of the damage being done by the destruction of the country's ecosystem.

by Samantha Tonkin

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