Today the largest and most comprehensive attempt to assess the state of our living planet and humanity’s place in it has been released.
This assessment is the first global snapshot in nearly fifteen years of the state of the world’s biodiversity. Over 150 experts from across 50 countries have bought together tens of thousands of sources of information. Yes, we may have heard some of the messages before - but they are no less important and urgent. The sheer weight of combined evidence and the fact that its conclusions are indorsed and supported by governments make the report something that cannot be ignored. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the crisis facing nature in the UK and globally.
In the last few weeks we’ve seen public outrage about the environmental crisis scale up across the world. From Extinction Rebellion and Youth Strikes, to thousands of people downloading the first ever birdsong single for Let Nature Sing, there is a clear public mandate for Governments to save nature, fast.
Despite the UK parliament announcing a climate and ecological emergency last week, in the same window two important environment committees denounced the Government’s plans for an Environment Bill as inadequate. This shows politicians’ rhetoric is not being translated into the legal reform we need, which is crucial if we want the UK to be a world leader at the 2020 global nature summit in China. In the context of this movement to restore nature and reduce climate change, the IPBES report is a landmark piece of evidence that must spur on political action.
What does the report say?
We are changing our planet beyond recognition, 75% of land and nearly half of marine and water ecosystems are now severely altered by people, for example, in the UK nearly three quarters of our land is used for agriculture. The report also highlights the crisis that species are facing as a result of these impacts; more are threatened with extinction now than at any other time in human history.
The way we use our land and manage our oceans are a primary cause of this collapse, and the devastating impacts are being exasperated by climate change. This report’s findings urge that we must act in a truly transformative way otherwise these negative trends will only increase– putting familiar faces of puffins, hedgehogs and bees at risk. Nature, climate, and people are all interconnected. We are the problem, but we are also the solution – we do have the power to restore our natural environment and live greener lifestyles. Everybody can play their part.
There is no single solution to this crisis – but there is hope. In the next two years we have a unique opportunity to jump start the solutions together and make collective choices about how we feed ourselves, protect nature, and avoid climate chaos.
2020 will be an important year – global leaders will come together in China to sign a new agreement under the UN’s nature treaty. We want to see ambitious commitments to tackle climate change that put nature at its heart, and it will be the first major “test” of the sustainable development goals.
What can you do?
The first and most simple step is raising your voice for nature. If you took part in Let Nature Sing last week and downloaded the single, you have already contributed to massively raising the profile of how much people love and want to protect our natural world. Thank you. That noise means that politicians, businesses, and the public at large, are now more likely to take action for nature because they know lots of people care about it. We can make saving nature mainstream, we just have to keep up the pressure.
To continue this amazing journey, there are lots of things you can do. Talk about nature’s decline in social media – share petitions and online actions with your friends and family. (Sign up as an RSPB campaigner to get updates on our latest actions.) You can contact your local MP, or your AM in Wales, your MSP in Scotland, or your MLA in Northern Ireland. Ask them to champion nature – to get it on the political agenda and fight for its restoration. You can ask your local businesses to commit to being more green; you can try to eat a more plant based diet; take public transport more often; switch to Ecotricity; make sure you recycle and reduce waste… Every little helps.
If we all do our bit, everywhere, it adds up to a huge impact for nature. Thank you for everything you have done, and will do, in the fight to save our natural world.
Last Updated: Tuesday 21 May 2019