Gavin Edwards, Global Coordinator, New Deal for Nature & People, WWF International
What is Biodiversity? Why does Biodiversity matter to us? What can you do for biodiversity, and what does it do for you?
You might find yourself asking similar questions, and you’d be right, it is a vast topic, but the one thing I would say is that we are indivisible from biodiversity and nature and it is time we renew that relationship. A New Deal for Nature and People is urgently needed.
Biodiversity — the abbreviated form of biological diversity, means the abundance and variety of life on the planet. A biologically diverse natural environment is essential to human health, well-being and prosperity. It provides us with everything from the air that we breathe, to the water that we drink and the food that we eat. More than 7 billion people inhabiting planet earth rely on nature and biodiversity for their livelihood and well-being, either through economic, cultural, or spiritual benefits. Nature also has intrinsic value — it has value in its own right too.
Unfortunately, we are losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate, according to the Living Planet Report of 2018 which shows us a 60% fall in just over 40 years — a grim reminder and perhaps the ultimate indicator of the pressure we exert on the planet and on species.
A once-in-a-decade opportunity exists early next year to review and fundamentally change humanity’s relationship with nature. With world leaders scheduled to take critical decisions on the environment, climate and development in 2021,we have a unique opportunity to course-correct for the sake of people and planet. It is essential we increase the resilience of our planet through a green and just economic recovery as we seek to rebuild and move past the current pandemic. More than ever we can clearly see that human activities are causing an unprecedented loss of nature.
To help curb future pandemics, we must greatly reduce the opportunities for viruses to jump from animals to people. The loss and degradation of natural habitats must be recognized as a key driver of emerging infectious diseases from wildlife. While this relationship is complex and context-dependent, the general trend is that habitat loss increases the likelihood that species carrying…