We The Peoples
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We The Peoples

Calling a ceasefire on our suicidal war against nature

Let’s not shy away from the truth: Nature is dying, and humans are at fault. What’s more, scientists say animal and plant species are becoming extinct so fast that human life on the planet is also now at risk. We can save ourselves, but only if we call an immediate ceasefire on our suicidal war against nature.

If we don’t, we’ll race on toward global catastrophe. Overconsumption, rapid population growth and aggressive farming are laying waste to habitats, wiping out wildlife tens to hundreds of times faster than any time in the past 10 million years. An eye-watering 1 million species are at risk in what’s being called the sixth great extinction.

We can’t afford to hide our heads in the sand and pretend this isn’t happening. A recent study by London’s Natural History Museum suggests the earth’s biodiversity is already far below the level considered safe to support human life on the planet, threatening processes such as pollination and nutrient cycling which are vital to producing our food.

The fear is that we may soon no longer be able to support ourselves. In any case, if we fail to act, the costs will soon become staggering. By 2030, biodiversity loss could cost the world an estimated $3 trillion US every year, with the impacts likely to be felt first and hardest by the world’s poorest.

We have it within our power to get the earth back on track, yet only bold action can save us. Last week, the world met virtually for the first phase of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in a bid to pull together to protect and restore nature with the same kind of commitment shown towards the climate crisis.

Addressing the conference, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for nations to agree a global road map for biodiversity to be implemented alongside the Paris Agreement on climate change, adding that preserving the natural world must become a urgent priority for all humans.

Phase one of the conference saw more than 100 countries sign the Kunming Declaration, committing to urgent and integrated action to protect habitats. At a second phase in April, countries are set to agree on a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, outlining a strategy for the next decade.

We’re counting on world leaders to put earth on a different trajectory. Yet all of us can help redirect our steps in the right direction. As communicators, we can highlight the impacts of biodiversity loss and shine light on the solutions. We can galvanize the public and help hold governments to their promises.

We already know what to do. The solutions must be green, and they must fair. We know that overconsumption by the world’s richest is driving this mass extinction. We can all help push forward a societal sea change in using only what we need, consuming less meat, and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

Our youth, those who stand to lose most from the destruction of nature, are desperate for change. There is still hope we can fix the damage done and give them back their futures. But we must be resolute and deploy every tool we have. After all, no investment is too large, no action too bold, to save life on earth.

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Voices from around the United Nations, with updates on digital diplomacy, peace, security, human rights and sustainable development.

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Melissa Fleming

Melissa Fleming

Chief Communicator #UnitedNations promoting a peaceful, sustainable, just & humane world. Author: A Hope More Powerful than the Sea. Podcast: Awake at Night.

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