The Natural Environment
I am really appreciating the crisp autumnal air of November this year, especially within a within a second lockdown in England due to Covid-19. The natural environment gives me most things I need: clean air, fresh water and wholesome food; spectacular natural landscapes and wildlife; seasonality; resources and opportunities to make my life comfortable or enjoyable. It’s good for both my physical and mental health and I’ve been fortunate enough to have grown up living and work in the natural environment. The variety of the natural environment, this biodiversity, matters a lot to me, as well as to others. And we need it more than ever before, and here’s why.
Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss
Like most professional ecologists and those working in the natural environment, I care about my future’s health, wealth, and wellbeing. I recognise that climate change is an issue to us as a species and that species
degradation and extinctions are happening at an alarming rate across the globe. Just like any other animal, humans have modified the environment around them, using natural resources, to help them create places of shelter and enhance their chance of survival. Unfortunately, unlike any other animal humans have exploited the very environment that has given us life on earth. We, as a species, have a strong and deep desire not only to survive, but thrive. Over the course of our own evolution as a species we have thrived to occupy every continent on earth and are actively seeking
new horizons to other planets. This exploitation has positive impacts for us, such as advances in trade, technology and medicine.
But it must not go unrecognised that it has significant negative impacts on, specifically, climate change and biodiversity. Climate change and biodiversity loss are two-sides of the same coin. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued an urgent warning in October 2018 that humanity has just 12 years left to keep global warming to below 1.5°C and avoid a climate catastrophe. WWF has also recently released the 2020 Living Planet Report which revealed that the average abundance of more than 4,000 species across the globe has declined by 68% since 1970. Our oceans have also been warming 40% faster than previously thought and are struggling to cope with the 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste we deposit in them every year.
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