To paraphrase Joe Biden’s words, "there is no better goal, no greater aspiration than protecting biodiversity."
In his book, Life on Our Planet, David Attenborough writes, “The root of our problem is the carelessness and lack of understanding that affects everything we do. At first, no one noticed that. However, the effects are multifaceted, global, and very complex."
Biodiversity is not safe
Protecting biodiversity is a sine qua non for our survival. On the other hand, however, humans by nature do not like changes and neither does nature. Yet, all of us provide her with a rollercoaster of changes and we tend to do it every day. The loss of biodiversity and climate change are a fact, and the effects are visible here and now. The dramatic challenges of the President of Kiribati Taneti Mamau and 108 thousand inhabitants of Kiribati are a good example since they will be forced to find a new home in the near future. The Pacific Ocean does not give up, and the 33 islands inhabited by these people may soon disappear under the water. Similar issues must be faced by the inhabitants of Venice who are regular witnesses to the Piazza San Marco being flooded.
Eurostat data on the sale of 350,000 tons of pesticides in the years 2011-2022 in the EU are also not particularly optimistic. Chemicals are hard on both biodiversity and our health. What's more, according to NIK, in 2020, we waited 36 days when testing for the presence of pesticides in fruit or vegetables. That’s an average value, because apples, which are very popular in Poland, are tested for only 70 days!
According to WWF, we lose 10 million hectares of forest annually, and in 1937 wild areas accounted for as much as 66% of all forests, according to the calculations of the American professor Erle C. Ellis. Mass extinctions of species have already occurred 5 times in our history in the period 450-66 million years ago.
This last time it happened there was a visible correlation with the appearance of a human. We learned hunting and farming. Then we replaced the hooks with combustion monsters, and the natural compost with a turbo-chemical supercharging version of it. The need to feed 8 billion people in the world forces an increasingly aggressive agricultural policy. Faster, more, even faster, even more and so on. In addition, wars make the number of hungry people grow. Not only due to interrupted supply chains but also as a result of their inability to cultivate fields in times of conflict.
The border of survival
Nature is not infinite and, as such, has its limits. We continue to replace natural monuments of nature with semi-natural ones, then quasi-natural ones, to finally present polished artificial orchids decorating the windowsills of almost every office building today. At the end of June 2020, 23 million people, that is 60% of our population, lived in cities, and cities are integrally connected with the need to build more. We replace natural habitats and forms of greenery with concrete and reinforced concrete slabs. Instead of gravitational infiltration, we created a system, in which water goes into the water supply and sewage system. Because of that, urban heat islands are occurring. Wanna go to Ibiza? Here you go. A square near the railway station is more than enough. Providing you have flip-flops, a drink with a tiny umbrella, and music from YouTube and you sure can feel like in the Balearic Islands. Interestingly, the solution is not some kind of rocket science, but simple protection of old parks, city gardens, ponds, street greenery, the one on and in front of buildings, municipal cemeteries, rain gardens, allotment gardens or perennial natural monuments, which can be left alone and they should be fine.
Civilization goes on regardless of whatever happens to biodiversity. We dig holes in the ground and drain the land. We dig hard for shiny things and some sparkles. We are digging because we have to somehow provide power for this whole economic machine. Yet, we can't dig indefinitely. Well, unless we dream of a pandemic entertainment being played once more. This time, however, in the hard version, with some new turbo versions of viruses and bacteria, today hidden somewhere deep in glaciers or permafrost.
What can be done?
Biodiversity is not safe. That's why I would love to empower her. Giving her the right rank is possible thanks to the law, good business practices and responsible leaders determined to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The plan is simple. Let's talk about it as much as possible. Let's include it in our accountability strategies. Let's create space for sharing knowledge and searching for innovations. Let's put her on the radar in a form of key indicators crucial not only for the effectiveness of our business but also for our survival.