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The world recently discovered that disastrous deterioration in the health of most of the planet's ecosystems means that a million species are threatened with extinction. This is among the findings of the most thorough ever survey of the state of the biosphere, carried out by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
These findings come at a time when concern about environmental problems is ramping up significantly, with school students' strikes, the nonviolent direct action of Extinction Rebellion, and official preparations taking place for a major global conference on biodiversity, to be held in China in October 2020.
Nature - Debate - Biodiversity - UK - Countries
All this is changing the nature of the debate about biodiversity. In the UK, and most other Western countries, the decline of the natural world has for many years generally been seen as "non-political". After all, we all love animals and plants, don't we? Their conservation has found champions and supporters across the political spectrum. WWF (World Wildlife Fund) has traded on cuddly pandas, royal patrons, and "corporate partnerships". And for most of its history and in most of the countries it works in, any idea that biodiversity loss is a political issue is unwelcome.
But this story is becoming less and less plausible. Ecosystem deterioration, along with climate change, is now becoming a controversial political question.
Urgency - Extent - Problem - Question - Biodiversity
This is partly because the urgency and extent of the problem have become all too clear. The question of biodiversity loss can no longer be seen as about saving your favourite zoo animal species. It is increasingly obvious that the problem of decline is much more pervasive, throughout the whole biosphere. This turns the problem from being about the conservation of charismatic species such as the snow leopard to becoming a threat to food supplies and ultimately human survival.
Then add to this the rise of climate change...
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