Eye on the Environment
By Frances Lamberts
“We are all part of the problem, and must all be part of the solution,” the director of the World Economy Center stated in an October issue of Science.
The discussion referenced the linkages between climate warming and the magnitude of loss of life forms on the globe. Both are ranked among the top threats to the global economy by the World Economic Forum, impacting vulnerable people the most.
Eighty freshwater fish became extinct last year, for example, fully one-third being threatened globally, placing food security and livelihoods at risk for millions of people.
As international climate scientists, known as the IPCC, held their 26th COP, or Conference of the Parties, in Glasgow recently, so a similar United Nation’s panel of international biological scientists held their (COP 15) virtual conference in Kunming, China last month, to be continued as a personal meeting in spring.
According to these latter experts’ reports, climate change is one of the main drivers of plant and
animal species endangerment. Development and degradation of habitat, over-harvesting and introduced foreign species are other continuing factors aggravating the extermination of species.
A notable small success story in addressing this challenge, also reported in Science earlier this year, can be seen in China itself.
In one of that country’s national parks on the Tibetan Plateau – in the headwaters region of several of its major rivers – the government instituted an innovative pilot program in 2015 intended to both improve income in poor herdsmen communities and protect the natural environment in the park.
It offered to employ one member of each family as a paid conservationist.
Now many thousands of the herdsmen, with a long tradition of protecting animals and the environment, are looking after mountains, waters, the grasslands and forests, patrolling
their respective range section as park rangers and helping to prevent illegal hunting and other harmful activities.
The authors judged the program as having substantially improved environmental quality in the park while also improving residents’ lives and community economic development.
In concert with about fifty other nations, the Biden administration has committed to a “30 by 30” program through which, by the end of the decade, 30% of our land and sea areas would be under some form of species protection.
China hasn’t yet, but should also, join this international pledge.
We must, indeed, “all be part of the solution,” politically as national entities, individually through personal action, to ensure for the young that their future world be beautiful and enjoy the many, critical services which nature provides to humankind.