October 04, 2020
Tarrah Henrie
California tiger salamander adult

Biodiversity is defined as the diversity of life in all of the ecosystems on our planet. From the plants, animals, and microbes that we are very familiar with to the wild and wonderful that have yet to be discovered. The biodiversity of earth is declining. According to the IUCN Red List, more than 32,000 species are threatened with extinction. That is over one quarter of all assessed species. Species are going extinct much faster than historical levels. Over the course of geologic history there have been 5 major mass extinction events. Scientists are warning that we are at the precipice of a 6th mass extinction event. This one is caused by humans. On Wednesday, leaders from nearly every country in the world met virtually at the UN Biodiversity Summit.

You may not have heard this in the news because the US was not represented at the summit.

I think the Summit website has an excellent explanation of why we should care: “Our societies are intimately linked with and depend on biodiversity. Biodiversity is essential for people, including through its provision of nutritious food, clean water, medicines, and protection from extreme events. Biodiversity loss and the degradation of its contributions to people jeopardize progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and human wellbeing.”

It is critical to take action to save our planet’s remaining biodiversity. Experts are calling for transformative change.

In the spring of 2021 UN Member States will be meeting to discuss the Convention on Biological Diversity. We need to call on our administration to once again take on the mantle of leadership at the UN. A grassroots movement can pressure governments to take long overdue actions.

Links to further reading and video of the UN Summit on Biodiversity can be found on the NDC website, under the Green Team.

Further reading and video links:

World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice
UN Summit on Biodiversity website
UN Summit on Biodiversity videos
IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Summary for Policy Makers
Nature's emergency: Where we are in five graphics
IUCN Red List
WWF Living Planet Report, 2020

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