We must stop seeing nature as a source of short-term profit, warns IPBES

Published July 13, 2022

IPBES has just released a new report, just days after warning of the 50,000 endangered species on which humanity depends. This time, researchers from the IPCC for Biodiversity tried to assess the values ​​that can be attributed to nature. It seems that decisions all too often are based on its market values. However, this contributes to exacerbating the biodiversity crisis and requires profound change.

The global biodiversity crisis is also due to our way of looking at nature and prioritizing its market value to a great extent. This is confirmed by the latest report from IPBES, the intergovernmental scientific and policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services, published on Monday 11 July. A few days after sounding the alarm about the 50,000 endangered species on which humanity depends, the IPCC for Biodiversity publishes the fruits of four years of work with the values ​​that can be attributed to nature.

“Biodiversity is in decline”said Ana María Hernández Salgar, President of IPBES. “This is largely due to the fact that our current approach to economic and political decisions does not take sufficient account of the diversity of nature’s values. This assessment represents a valuable contribution to the reorientation of all decisions so that they are followed by results to benefit humanity. and the rest of nature. “

“Redefining ‘development’ and ‘good quality of life'”

The authors have thus identified four approaches: to live by nature, with nature, in nature and as nature. Living by nature emphasizes nature’s ability to provide resources such as food and material goods. Living with nature emphasizes the lives of non-human living beings, such as a fish’s inherent right to live freely in a river. Living in nature refers to the importance of nature as a framework that helps to create a sense of belonging and human identity. Living Like Nature illustrates man’s physical, mental and spiritual connection with nature.

However, according to the report, 74% of current nature studies focus on market values, such as those associated with intensively produced food, which obscures all other values ​​such as climate regulation, cultural identity or overexploitation of ecosystems. “A development project can thus create economic benefits and jobs for which nature’s market values ​​can be assessed, but it can also lead to the disappearance of species and the destruction of cultural heritage sites that are important for identity.“explains Professor Patricia Balvanera. “It therefore involves redefining ‘development’ and ‘good quality of life’ and recognizing the diversity of relationships between people with each other and with the natural world.”

“Race for short-term profit”

“We all live by nature. It provides us with food, medicine, raw materials and oxygen, regulates the climate and plays many other roles. Nature in all its diversity is the best asset that humanity could dream of. Yet its true value is often overlooked in decision making. “It is neglected in the race for short-term profit. If we do not value nature and take it into account in decision-making processes, we will continue to lose it, which can only harm humanity.” responds Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

This reading grid is important in the context of the COP15 biodiversity negotiations, which will finally be organized in Montreal, Canada, from 5 to 17 December, two years late. It is about redefining global goals of conserving nature by 2050, which some would like to be as important as the Paris climate agreement. But NGOs are already talking about the risk of a Copenhagen bis, with reference to climate COP15 in 2009, which was a failure. Time is running out: one million species are threatened with extinction, deforestation in the Amazon is breaking records, and intensive agriculture is depleting the land.

Concepción Alvarez @ conce1

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