A resident paddles his canoe past dead fish found on the banks of the Parana de Manaquiri River, a tributary of the Amazon, in Brazil. Photograph: Amazona Spress/Reuters
n less than a month, unless we can rouse sufficient public indignation to avert it, a widespread suspicion that humanity is incapable of looking after this planet will be confirmed. The world’s governments will meet at Nagoya in Japan to discuss the catastrophic decline of life on the planet. The outcome is expected to be as tragic and as impotent as the collapse of last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen
We cannot accept this. We cannot stand back and watch while the wonders of this world are sacrificed to crass carelessness and short-termism. So, a few weeks ago, the Guardian launched the Biodiversity 100 campaign to prod governments into action. We asked the public and some of the world’s top ecologists to help us compile a list of 100 specific tasks that will show whether or not governments are serious about protecting biodiversity. Each task would be aimed at a government among the G20 nations, and they would be asked to sign up to it at Nagoya.
The threat hanging over these talks is not the same as in Copenhagen. We anticipate no high drama, no ultimata or walkouts. The danger is not that the governments discussing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will fail to agree, but that they will agree all too easily: to a set of proposals so vague, so lacking in either content or ambition that they can do nothing to address the extinction crisis facing animals and plants all over the world.The result will not just be the loss of species but also the “work” they do for the environment — cleaning water, absorbing carbon and improving soils.
Unless something changes, governments intend to decide that wild species and wild places will not be allowed to compete with special interest groups or industrial lobbyists, however narrow their interests or perverse their desires. Wildlife doesn’t fund political parties, control newspapers or threaten to take its business elsewhere. As soon as money can be made from its destruction, it goes.
The government’s complacency about biodiversity is matched, so far, by the public’s. Perhaps it’s issue fatigue, perhaps there’s a sense — as the topic doesn’t receive much coverage — that someone, somewhere must be taking care of it. Well they aren’t. Last week Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, admitted that the 2010 deadline for reducing the rate of biodiversity loss has been missed. In fact, as a study in Science earlier this year suggested, the commitment governments made in 2002 appears to have had no significant impact at all.
read whole article @ guardian.co.uk