What We’re Talking About This Month: August 2020
A Closer Look at Biodiversity
Biodiversity is important for many reasons:
- Nature’s wild places have an intrinsic value to humanity, as do the rights of Indigenous peoples to their traditional lifestyles that help maintain nature.
- Biodiversity also benefits the climate as healthy forests and oceans store carbon and protect humanity from natural disasters;
- And it keeps us healthy as a source of food, clean water, and medicine, and by creating a natural barrier between humans and deadly pathogens like coronaviruses.
As countries plan ways to recover better, putting nature at the heart of decision-making for people and the planet must be a top priority.
Here are some facts and figures highlighting the need to protect biodiversity:
- Biodiversity conservation is The Climate Solution Hiding in Plain Sight, expected to provide as much as a third of the climate change mitigation needed to keep the world below extreme warming.
- One million plant and animal species are facing extinction – largely because of humans – according to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
- According to IPBES, human activity accounts for the five main drivers of biodiversity loss: land-use change, overexploitation of plants and animals, climate emergency, pollution, and invasive alien species.
- Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people and research shows that these diseases are on the rise. At present, about 1 billion cases of illness, and millions of deaths, occur every year as humans encroach ever faster on wild spaces. Sixty percent of all known infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, as are 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases.
Want to get involved? Here are some ideas.
- Educate: Indigenous communities are at the front-lines of protecting the world’s biodiversity but this is often unrecognized or actively opposed.
- Inspire: The UN Secretary-General recently launched his new Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change featuring seven young climate leaders from around the world. This marks the first time young climate leaders take on a formal, ongoing role advising the Secretary-General. Be inspired by and learn about the Youth Advisory Group members here.
- Take Action: Tell your Members of Congress that climate action must remain a top priority, especially as COVID-19 continues to impact everyone around the world.
Events in August:
- 8/1-8/7: World Breastfeeding Week
- 8/5: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples: Indigenous Rights at the UN
- 8/9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
- 8/12: International Youth Day; Celebrate with UNA-USA’s 2020-2021 Youth Observer to the UN
- 8/18: 100th Anniversary of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment
- 8/19: World Humanitarian Day
- 8/21: International Day and Remembrance to the Victims of Terrorism
- 8/22: International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief
- 8/23: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition
- 8/28: International Day for the Universal Access to Information