For many decades, humans, particularly in the developed world, have continued to urbanise and disrupt many landscapes and ecosystems, whether it be for industry, infrastructure or housing requirements.
Due to the distinct lack of clear guidance, enforcement, education and respect of those high level decision-makers for the natural environment, we are now at a catastrophic level of biodiversity loss, pollution and climate change across the entire planet. It is not too late to alter the direction of travel particularly in relation to biodiversity, but this can only be done through significant adjustments to the way in which humans continue to develop and manage land.
There has never been more of a requirement for strong global collaboration to create change, which will impact on every future generation. The options are pretty clear right now, we continue what we are doing and see temperatures continue to rise, increased natural disasters, and an increased loss of biodiversity, which impacts on everything we do; or we create change to ensure we halt the global temperature increases, we invest in new technology and we consider the natural environment as a basis for everything. This is not just to maintain our rich tapestry of biodiversity but also to restore, enhance and manage it.
This week marks the beginning of the UN Biodiversity
Conference, COP15, in Montreal, from 7-19 December 2022. The conference brings together governments and leaders from around the world to agree on a new set of goals to guide global action to halt and reverse nature loss. The hope is that they will bring about meaningful solutions to provide traction against the biodiversity loss and crisis which has been created.
The onus to improve biodiversity is frequently placed at the door of individuals by Government with mantras implying “We’re in this together!” and “Every little helps”. Punchy one liners and political slogans aren’t going to make the difference. What is needed is a palpable and demonstrable shift in the mentality of Government to place the natural world at the forefront of its decisions, and to become world-leaders in innovative technology which will drive those necessary changes as well as creating their associated economic benefits.
At Wharton our company mission is to create a future where we live in balance with, and connected to nature, by increasing our understanding of natural infrastructure and guiding its enhancement in the places we live, work and play. As arboricultural and ecological consultants we are acutely aware of the opportunities developers and landowners have to make significant and meaningful changes to biodiversity. Conversely, we are also aware of the balance and competing needs of development, and the nuanced viewpoints and constraints that our mission ultimately has to compromise on in our daily work. We truly believe that there needs to be a shift from seeing the natural word as a constraint, and something that gets in the way; to something that is absolutely critical to our survival and the survival of other species.
The natural world and the positive effects it can have on both mental and physical health have never been as widely understood or appreciated as they are today. Awareness is increasing and technology is developing, it is now incumbent on Governments to fulfil their duty in bringing together the awareness and technological developments to provide meaningful solutions.
As HRH the Prince of Wales recently stated during his Earthshot prize speech, “The decisions we make now will affect generations to come, which is why we must choose the path of hope, optimism, and urgency to repair our planet.”; it is our hope that world leaders make the right decisions for the planet and ultimately, for our future.
So the challenge is there, not only to Governments across the world, to leaders and decision-makers, but also to every person who believes there is a need to not only protect the delicate balance between the natural environment and human activity, but also to tackle the imperative need to maintain, restore and enhance biodiversity to avoid further extinction of populations which are vital to life on this planet.
We have a duty to future generations and although policies can be developed and agreements made it is how we physically act which truly makes the difference. Look locally at what you can personally do to improve your local biodiversity or get involved at a higher level with your local Wildlife Trust, or other wildlife charities like the RSPB, write to your MP to convey your passion and concern about the biodiversity and climate crisis. We need to come together to hold leaders accountable, to ensure they take action and make the protection and enhancement of biodiversity a non-negotiable item that is critical to the continued survival of life on this planet.