A colleague recently described how fish would swim into her clothing when she was a child bathing in the ocean off the coast of Vietnam, but today the fish are gone and her children find the story far-fetched.
Another recalled his experiences just last year in Cape Town – one of the world’s most attractive tourism and leisure destinations – when more than 2 million people faced the nightmare prospect of all taps, in every home and business, running dry.
These instances, on opposite sides of the world, are two faces of the same problem; the relentless pressure we are putting on biodiversity and the contributions that nature makes to our wellbeing, and the way we humans are changing the Earth’s climate.
The rich variety of nature provides us with the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe, and countless moments of personal inspiration spent in forests and mountains, exploring beaches and rivers, or even listening to a simple birdsong in a quiet moment.
We have all assumed that nature would always be here for us and our children. However, our boundless consumption, shortsighted reliance on fossil fuels and our unsustainable use of nature now seriously threaten our future.
Environmentalists, scientists and indigenous peoples have been sounding the alarm for decades. Our understanding of the overexploitation of the planet has advanced with grim, sharp clarity over that time.
We have entered an era of rapidly accelerating species extinction, and are facing the irreversible loss of plant and animal species, habitats and vital crops, while coming face to face with the horrific impacts of global climate change. [Continue reading…]