On 7 May, the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services which assesses the state of biodiversity, and of the ecosystem services that it provides to society, released a blunt statement revealing that:
“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”
But, the key is that it’s not too late.
Right now we have critical choices to make. Our Federal election is in 72hrs, and the choices we make will alter the direction of our relationship to the natural world; with climate change and biodiversity pivotal issues.
I don’t normally talk about politics, but if you love the natural world, I implore you to go to ABC’s Vote Compass and make an informed choice this election. Vote for biodiversity and climate action. You may have seen today’s headlines in The Guardian May 15th 2019 ‘Australia’s Biodiversity at Breaking Point’
Now it’s time to take action.
Speaking at the report launch, immediate past chair of IPBES, Sir Robert Watson said “ . . . it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global, through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals.
If you’re time poor (and let’s face it – who isn’t), jump straight to learning what you can do to reverse this crisis. Here is the Summary of the Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production showing the Values and trends of pollinators and pollination, the drivers of change, risks and opportunities for policy change. Page 50 has a good overview which includes transforming societies relationship with nature through education and engagement.
Right now you can
Tragically, Australia is leading the world in the wrong direction. According to Nature at the end of 2017, Australia was 2nd in the world for biodiversity loss and one of 7 countries responsible for half of the global biodiversity loss. They identified key pressures on biodiversity loss, including land clearing-ongoing clearing for habitat, particularly in New South Wales and Queensland over the past two decades.
This new assessment wants the world to move on from measuring nature’s value in dollars. “If you have a natural forest it doesn’t appear at all in your account books at national level, your wealth is not affected at all,” said Ina Porras, from the International Institute for Environment and Development. “The moment you allow the extraction of timber then your GDP will increase – it’s only by allowing the destruction of this resource that the economy seems to be growing.What we need to do is change that because that forest is providing many other services that are simply not accounted, if you destroy it, looks as if you are increasing your wealth but you are not.”Five things we’ve learned from nature crisis study.
It is not too late, and we have much to do to make this an opportunity for positive change.
Dear world leaders
Nature provides us with the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink. We depend on it to grow our crops, to source our medicines, to house us and to clothe us. When we destroy nature, we destroy the essentials on which we all depend.
Today IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, www.ipbes.net) – the independent global scientific body on biodiversity of more than 130 governments – publishes its report on the current state of life on Earth. The report paints an alarming picture of species extinctions, wildlife population declines, habitat loss and depletion of ecosystem services − adding to the existing wealth of evidence that we are losing nature at a dramatic and unsustainable rate.
The report also makes clear the cause of this destruction: us. We are cutting down our forests, overfishing our seas, polluting our rivers, degrading our soils and changing our climate. This poses an urgent threat to all life on Earth – including ourselves.
There is still time to protect what is left and to start restoring nature. But to do that, we must radically change the way we live, including how we use energy to power our societies, grow our food, and manage our waste. This is an immense task but many of the solutions are already at hand.
Each of us has a role to play in bringing about this transformational change. But we need you, our political leaders, to lead − and to set us on a path to a future where people and nature thrive.
Next year, there is an unmissable opportunity to choose a new direction for people and the planet. Important global decisions will be made on biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development at a series of UN meetings in 2020. Together, these form an action plan for change, a real New Deal for nature and people.
But for this to happen, we need decisive and ambitious action from you. That’s why today:
We call on you to stop funding activities that destroy nature.
We call on you to put an end to deforestation and land degradation.
We call on you to protect our oceans and marine life, especially against plastics.
We call on you to encourage the transition to sustainable agricultural practices.
We call on you to implement the Paris Agreement to halt climate change.
The future of all life on Earth lies in the balance. We urge you to act now.