Cop15 is an opportunity to save nature. We cannot afford another decade of failure | Phoebe Weston

sBeing a biodiversity reporter doesn’t mean much to a lot of people. “What are you already writing about?” They ask. And that is exactly why there are more journalists in this rhythm. Nature’s crisis continues to fly under the radar.

In 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, there was a flurry of enthusiasm about tackling major environmental problems, and so governments established three United Nations conventions to deal with climate change, biodiversity loss, and desertification. Since then, the climate crisis has been treated as separate from the biodiversity crisis, yet there is significant overlap between the two.

Some people think their class was Error. Both crises share carbon. Its release as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere leads to the climate crisis, but the essential component of our planet’s biodiversity – in soil, forests, wetlands, plants and animals – is also carbon. Dealing with each requires that carbon be stored in healthy ecosystems, rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. You fail at one, and you fail at both.

Governments are slowly starting to treat it as a single issue. Several commentators said UN Cop26 climate talks in 2021 new erawith ambitious pledges to protect forests, which not only store vast amounts of carbon, but are also rich in biodiversity.

Maps revealed Ecosystems must not be destroyed We can’t get lost if we want to avoid catastrophic climate collapse, including carbon-rich Forests and peatlandsFrom Brazil to Britain.

The Guardian has set up its own biodiversity office, era of extinctionAt the end of 2019in anticipation of the United Nations Conference on Biological Diversity (Policeman 15), a once-in-a-decade opportunity to create targets to halt the collapse of ecosystems globally. Some refer to it as a crisis of nature, or a crisis of wildlife, but they are all ways of showing that our ecosystems are in free-fall, and are being destroyed at alarming rates. Indigenous communities, which are essential to the survival of many ecosystems, are also under threat Kill Record Numbers In the last years.

We write about three articles per week, which can be reports, features, investigations, podcasts or videos. The Guardian was very ahead of its time on this, and in the three years we’ve been covering biodiversity loss, we’ve seen a gradual increase in content by other publications. In February 2020, the Guardian was the only major publication in attendance at the end of pre-Cop15 negotiations, then earlier this year the BBC put out coverage of talks in Geneva on its homepage.

We like to think we paved the way, with very close coverage of the introduction (and Too many delays) to Cop15 – which takes place in Montreal, Canada in December – as well as laying out the basics What is driving biodiversity lossAnd what can we do about it.

Phoebe Weston poses a question to committee members at the IUCN World Conservation Conference 2020, Marseille, France, September 4, 2021
Phoebe Weston asks the committee a question at the IUCN World Conservation Conference in Marseille in September 2021. Photo: IISB

Science tells us that the biodiversity crisis is as urgent as the climate crisis, so hopefully in the coming years other newsrooms will have dedicated biodiversity reporters along with climate, health, and policy reporters — which also means more job security for my fellow age. Extinction Reporter Patrick Greenfield, And I.

If we expect new forests to absorb a large portion of the excess emissions by 2050, knowing how to plant trees and restore wetlands and peatlands will be absolutely essential. We’ve looked extensively at agriculture, forests, soils, and all the complex ways the Earth can absorb carbon, because none of this is simple, and even scientists still wrestling with some of these issues.

Dealing with biodiversity is a global challenge, but it is made up of local stories. Readers often ask how they can contribute, and we enjoyed writing about people Local nature projects And the Barklets. There is endless love hedgehogsAnd the bees and beavers. People who decide to act often find that the wildlife returns quickly, and reward them for their efforts. one man He built enough nest boxes to house half of the UK’s express population.

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All these snowballs into bigger things. Watching people protest for our planet makes the hair on the back of our necks come to an end. They give us hope for the future.

But the broader picture is bleak. Unlike the climate crisis, it’s hard to see any kind of roadmap out for the biodiversity crisis. Wildlife is being wiped out from every corner of our planet at ever faster rates. Successive heat waves and droughts – like the ones we saw this summer – are cumulative Hit the natural world. I am increasingly concerned that our response to the biodiversity crisis is nearly insufficient.

the scientist It failed all previous UN biodiversity targetsBut we cannot afford another decade of failure. Goals are pointless unless you take them seriously, and we must take this seriously because we depend on nature to survive. We are focused on Cop15, but our reporting will continue after this important event, and we will hold governments accountable for their promises.

In 2020, I interviewed Ron Finley, “Gangster Gardener” Which revolutionized attitudes toward gardening in inner-city Los Angeles. He told me that governments and municipalities need to invest money in things they claim to care about (in this case, getting people to grow their own food). I asked him if he was an optimist (that’s a classic thing for me to ask at the end of a bleak interview).

His answer stayed with me. He said, “I don’t like to use the word ‘hope’. I like to use the word ‘chance’. To hell with hope. Not for the hope of changing it. It’s an opportunity to realize nonsense.” Cop15 chance. We have to use it.

find more Extinction coverage age hereand follow biodiversity reporters Phoebe Weston And the Patrick Greenfield On Twitter for the latest news and features

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