An unprecedented consensus among the nations of the world was achieved last week at the 2022 United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Montreal (COP-15).
The agreement sets into motion the protection of 30% of all land and 30% of all oceans by the end of this decade. This would nearly double the amount of land protection and almost quadruple that of the oceans. Along with the geographic expansion are a suite of 23 conservation targets. Among these is the requirement that big businesses disclose environmental consequences of their operations. 190 countries seeing eye-to-eye inspires great hope that we can solve the problems that global industrialization and trade have created.
The flip side of this coin is the irrefutable recognition that we are in trouble. We are the problem, not just the solution. The biggest culprits are industrial agriculture on land and over-fishing at sea. Other chart toppers include hunting, mining, logging, pollution, and invasive species. All this is amplified by the pandemonium of climate change. Current estimates show that nearly one million species are at risk of survival.
Among the agreement’s targets are 50% reduction in pesticides and highly toxic chemicals including fertilizers that are key factors related to endangered wildlife populations and extinctions. Many of the victims of biodiversity decline are invertebrates, as E.O. Wilson describes them, the ‘little things that run the world’. Invertebrates are insects but also include clams, starfish, spiders, crayfish, and lobsters. Insects alone make up 72% of animal diversity worldwide. They are essential for keeping pests in check, decomposing waste and detritus, and feeding the birds and other vertebrates. Invertebrates, though often overlooked, are critical to the living systems that make our own existence possible.
If we fail to reflect n the changes that are occurring due to human activity and if we fail to take immediate action toward sustainability we will face a profound existential threat of our own making. While it takes global organizations like the United Nations and individual countries to pull on the large levers of change, we can also take action as individuals. In fact, our collective choices and behavior can be the most profound influence on our future trajectory.
For this reason I commit myself to do all that I can in support of biodiversity by championing “Landscape Design with Nature in Mind”. Webbedfoot Designs, Inc. is here to make a difference by showing others how to change the world, one yard at a time.