We must stop waging war on nature and “make peace” with it if we want to avoid cataclysmic environmental harm to the planet. We’ll need to tackle climate change, reduce appalling levels of air and water pollution, and protect and restore biodiversity.
This is according to the United Nations Environment Programme, which has released a new report advocating for urgent and transformative change in the way our societies are run.
“By transforming how we view nature, we can recognize its true value. By reflecting this value in policies, plans and economic systems, we can channel investments into activities that restore nature and are rewarded for it,” observes the UN’s secretary-general, António Guterres.
“By recognizing nature as an indispensable ally, we can unleash human ingenuity in the service of sustainability and secure our own health and well-being alongside that of the planet,” Guterres elucidates.
Much of economic growth worldwide has been in tandem with an unsustainable exploitation of nature, which has tripled the extraction of natural resources and created a planetary emergency. Forests have been felled, oceans have been overfished, rivers have been badly polluted.
“Despite a temporary decline in emissions due to the pandemic, Earth is heading for at least 3°C of global warming this century; more than 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species are at substantially increased risk of extinction; and diseases caused by pollution are currently killing some 9 million people prematurely every year,” the UNEP explains.
Solutions lie in reevaluating our relationship with nature by treating it not as a resource to be endlessly exploited but as a depository of inherent value that needs to be protected from further manmade depredations. Innovations in sustainable technologies and greener business models will also be essential to undo the harm we have inflicted on the planet. Read more…