In December 2022, the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention targeted the impending climate catastrophe — declining biodiversity.
The Living Planet Report 2022 indicates an average decline of 69 percent in species populations since 1970. The unprecedented rate of degradation in nature is severely affecting the quality of ecosystems.
Conversion of habitats into agricultural systems, illegal wildlife trade, land use change, pollution, and over-exploitation are some of the major anthropogenic causes threatening the future of Earth’s biodiversity.
Sixth Mass Extinction
Predictions for the “sixth mass extinction” are also being made. More than 500 species of land animals are on the verge of extinction and are likely to be lost within 20 years. Furthermore, species are all interconnected. When one species goes extinct, other species are affected, disturbing the ecological balance as a whole. Although extinctions are a part of the evolutionary process, the current rates are high enough to threaten the collapse of essential ecological functions that will be irreversible. Hence, destructive human activities must be urgently tackled.
The Global Biodiversity Framework
The “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” (GBF) was adopted in COP15, which includes four goals and 23 targets for achievement by 2030. It should be a priority for all nations to restore degraded ecosystems and reduce the global footprint of consumption in order to stop the extinction of known species. After all, biodiversity conservation is a collective effort with differentiated responsibilities and capabilities.
Can We Do Something?
The protection and management of biodiversity can be done using different methods. While governments legislate a ban on poaching and implement habitat restoration policies, there are some simple duties that civilians can do to create a big difference.
1. Adhere to the 7Rs of sustainability: Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.
2. Be vocal for the local — support the local farms and plant a variety of vegetables, fruits, and flowers in your backyard.
3. Buy sustainably — purchase energy-efficient electronics, such as LED light bulbs, and prioritize products with eco-labels.
4. Protect the pollinators — declining population of pollinators is an indication of the impending ecological collapse. Engage in pollinator-friendly landscape settings for public and private properties.
5. Avoid single-use plastics and plant more trees.
The Green Pledge
Biodiversity is the most valuable but least appreciated resource, so its depreciation should be prevented at all costs. It calls for urgent collective action to preserve nature from climate breakdown, which is why it is important to take accountability on all levels to ensure a greener and more sustainable future.