Could legislation halt biodiversity loss?

The IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) report which came out earlier this year, made difficult reading, as it described the decline of nature to be ‘unprecedented’, and that species extinction rates are ‘accelerating’.

Dr Kate Brauman, from the University of Minnesota and a coordinating lead author of the assessment, explained – “We have documented a really unprecedented decline in biodiversity and nature, this is completely different than anything we’ve seen in human history in terms of the rate of decline and the scale of the threat.”

The report found that the current global response is insufficient and that transformative change is needed to restore and protect nature. The report suggested that currently 1 Million species are threatened with extinction.

In 2010, in Aichi, Japan, a number of targets were agreed to drive forward actions to understand and address the causes of biodiversity loss. Despite the commitment made to these various targets, most of the targets are not on track to be achieved. Anyone who has an interest in the health of the planet and the beings who live on it, will not be surprised to hear that the agreement has failed to lead to decisive and positive action.

The next meeting to discuss biodiversity takes place in Kumming in October 2020, and a group of MEPs want to see any future targets underpinned by legislation in order to force countries to take actions.

Along with climate change the planet is also suffering severe loss of biodiversity – and we know that these are both driven by the continued industrialisation of the planet and increased levels of consumerism by humans. We need to change our ways. To keep doing the same thing but expect a different result is insanity. It’s time to change our behaviours, and to work towards peaceful co-existence with those with whom we share the earth.

We need to make space for nature, and remember that we share this amazing planet with a whole host of other life forms. Until we do this, we will not be able to make the changes that are needed, as individuals, as businesses, and as governments, to halt biodiversity loss.

If the targets set in 2020 are underpinned by legislation, this may provide an increased incentive for governments to act in the best interests of the planet and the animals and plants who live here. Let’s hope so.

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