As the world prepares to restart economies, protect societies and protect the poorest, let us take time for nature.
The emergence of the pandemic has shown that Humanity is placing too many pressures on the natural world. The damaging consequences are obvious.
Normal is what caused this crisis. “Normal” has:
- meant environmental destruction, human suffering, economic injustice, social discord, and a callous disrespect for nature and planetary boundaries;
- meant cutting down huge swathes of forest to plant crops, and meant grazing livestock at the expense of wildlife habitat;
- accelerated global warming, stressing wild species and their habitats and making humans more susceptible to zoonotic diseases; and
- led us to health and economic ruin, and the brink of environmental collapse.
We now know that we cannot return to normal. We need to build back better.
We need to realise that biodiversity is the foundation of human health and a pillar for resilience and inter-generational equity. Its loss presents a fundamental risk to the healthy and stable ecosystems that sustain all aspects of our societies.
The fight against COVID-19 is also bringing to the forefront an unprecedented sense of collective solidarity, shared purpose and common humanity. We need to take time to harness these positive forces to achieve the shared and interdependent goals of healthy societies and a healthy planet. 2020 can serve as a turning point for our relationship with nature.
This year’s theme “Time for Nature” means that new global and national governance models must be based on rights, rewards and responsibilities and explicitly recognize the fact that the future of humanity, economic growth and nature are completely dependent on one another. It is time for urgent, sweeping international cooperation to preserve nature, conserve biodiversity, and protect human health for generations to come.
It is time for us all to come together, in solidarity and cooperation, to care for each other and for the planet on which we live.