Reports Find Biodiversity at "Extreme Risk" Due to Profit-Driven Policies
Over the weekend, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released assessments on the diverse values of nature and the sustainable use of wild species. Its underlying theme: Global biodiversity loss and its effects on human well-being. The IPBES found that a "market-based focus on short-term profits and economic growth” has led to bad policy-making decisions ignoring the vital benefits of nature, which in turn, negatively affected the climate crisis and human quality of life. According to the IPBES, the global economy has severely undervalued the positive contributions of nature to human life and put the planet at "extreme risk.”
WWF: Biodiversity Loss | Untangled, February 17, 2022.
Our Changing Climate: Biodiversity is collapsing worldwide. Here’s why., May 8, 2020.
Why This Matters
Overexploitation, habitat destruction, and pollution are contributing factors to an unprecedented rate of biodiversity loss that threatens the livelihoods of billions of people who rely on wild species for food, clean water, medicine, energy, and income. Seventy percent of people in poverty directly depend on wild species to survive, making them most at risk as a result of unsustainable overuse. Ignoring the true value of nature not only exacerbates the climate crisis and social conflict, but is the key driver of nature loss that contributes to cultural disintegration. Without the earth’s vital ecosystem services, humanity risks global economic instability and environmental collapse.
IPCC: Climate Change 2022 | Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability, June 7, 2022.
Democracy Now: We Created the Pandemicene | Ed Yong on How the Climate Crisis Could Spark the Next Pandemic, April 29, 2022.
Center For American Progress: Transitioning to a Nature-Centered Global Economy, October 25, 2021.
Sustainable Development and the Valuation of Nature
Sir Partha Dasgupta, an Emeritus Professor of Economics at Cambridge University, says a radical shift in production, consumption, finance, and education is needed to intrinsically increase the valuation of nature and foster sustainable development. He adds that policymakers must redefine "development” and "good quality of life” in a way that incorporates the authentic and diverse relationship between humans and nature. That includes the variety of values and traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities.
"Nature is our home. Good economics demands we manage it better,” says Dasgupta. “Truly sustainable economic growth and development means recognizing that our long-term prosperity relies on rebalancing our demand of nature’s goods and services with its capacity to supply them.”
Oxford Martin School: Evaluating and investing in Nature-based solutions with Nathalie Seddon & Cameron Hepburn, June 17, 2021.
CBC News: Using Indigenous knowledge to tackle climate change, March 15, 2022.
Stockholm Resilience Centre TV: The economics of biodiversity | Partha Dasgupta, May 5, 2021.
WW0 COP26 Talks: Dr. Cécile Girardin, Science Lead, Oxford Biodiversity Network, November 10, 2021.