The change of consumption habits, essential to stop the loss of biodiversity

The change of consumption habits, essential to stop the loss of biodiversity

The change in consumption habits and economic development policies that respect biodiversity are two of the calls for attention around the world in the framework of the celebration of the International Day coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity from the ONU.

This May 22 marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity at the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil, which has been ratified by more than 196 countries.

Loss of biodiversity due to human action

According to data from the Spanish Biodiversity Foundation, 40 percent of the world economy depends on healthy nature and ecosystems.

However, the plans for the preservation of biodiversity are not entirely promising, according to data from the latest 'Living Planet Report 2016' of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) organization, which works in more than 100 countries, warns about the need to change our eating habits, energy use and consumption in general.

This has been confirmed by the head of species at WWF Spain, Luis Suárez, in an interview with EFEverde, who pointed out that it is necessary to change the development model and added that human action is a “cause for sadness and also an opportunity to draw attention to the action of men in relation to nature ”.

Suárez has asserted that the challenge is that "it not only remains as an element of the administrations that work in it, but that it is the whole of society in any field that supports the change."

The first thing is to conserve biodiversity and reverse the loss of species, according to Suárez, because "that means that as a species we are also mortgaging the future."

The WWF Report states that the exploitation of the planet's natural resources has an "unsustainable pace", and currently represents the consumption of 1.6 Earth resources, hence the need to comply with international commitments to curb climate change, protect biodiversity and promote sustainable development.

According to WWF, human activity caused the world's population of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles to decline by 59 percent between 1970 and 2012.

If the current rate of exploitation continues, in which 34 percent of the planet's surface is used for agriculture and 69 percent for the extraction of fresh water, the rate of destruction of biodiversity will be 67 percent. cent in 2020.

Spain, the most diverse European country

According to data from the Biodiversity Foundation, Spain is the country with the most species in Europe, with 85,000 species of animals, between 8,000 and 9,000 vascular plants.

In addition, Spain is home to 40 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and 27 percent of the territory is included in the Natura 2000 Network.

Likewise, according to the Foundation, 8 percent of the sea surface is protected by the Life + Indemares project.

However, the Foundation points out on its website that about 940 species are threatened in Spain.

This trend occurs mainly due to the loss of habitats, overexploitation of species, pollution, the introduction of species
invasives and diseases and the effects of climate change.

Invasive species

Hence, environmental NGOs have denounced today in a statement the serious setback that the approval in the last process in the Senate would imply the attempt to modify the Spanish Law of Natural Heritage and Biodiversity, since it would allow maintaining the presence of invasive alien species in the natural environment for recreational or economic interests.

Friends of the Earth, Ecologists in Action, Greenpeace, SEO / BirdLife and WWF Spain are extremely concerned about the processing in the Senate, after its passage through Congress, of a Proposal of Law (PL) of the Popular Group that has found support in the surprising alliance of Citizens and nationalist groups such as the PNV and the PdCat.

The organizations ask the political parties to immediately paralyze their parliamentary proceedings and to demand concrete actions from the government to control exotic species in our country and thus comply with the international commitments acquired.

The Law Proposal seeks, at the request of pressure groups, according to the organizations, to modify the current Law 42/2007 on Natural Heritage and Biodiversity so that the pardon of some species does not harm economic activities of release, hunting, fishing, breeding and commercialization of certain invasive alien species that cause "extremely serious damage to local biodiversity".

Among the species “pardoned” are: carp, American crab, rainbow trout, blacktail or American mink.

"That is to say, they want to make these species an exception and not consider them as exotic and invasive, thus circumventing the ruling 637/2007 of the Supreme Court," according to the organizations.

However, the modification could include any species that in the future may have recreational or economic interest.

According to the organizations, at a dramatic moment for the future of the planet, when we are experiencing the sixth mass extinction of species, "it is key to work to reduce threats such as invasive alien species."

The Reforesta Association, for its part, recalls that a study carried out by BirdLife International, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds of the United Kingdom (RSPB) and the universities of Warsaw, Rome, Grenoble (France) and Queensaland (Australia ) has shown that the majority of endangered species occur in areas where the forest mass has been severe.

The study indicates that in the period 2008-2050 it is estimated that 38% of the diversity present in the forests will be lost. For this, Reforesta has launched a campaign with a message: “cutting a tree also cuts the life of the tree. the animals that live in their environment ”.

The organization points out that extensive livestock and agriculture, as well as deforestation for the cultivation of soybeans and palm oil have caused, according to the study “Forest Trends. 2014. Consumer and Deforestation. An Analysis of the Extent and Nature of Illegality in Forest Conversion for Agriculture and Timber Plantation ”, 49 percent of deforestation in the tropics.

This deforestation, according to the study, is caused by illegal destruction for commercial agriculture.

The study indicates that of that figure, almost half, is due to foreign demand for raw materials such as palm oil.

Reforesta also cites, according to another analysis on the impact of palm oil crops, carried out by Vijay V, Pimm SL, CJenkins CN and Smith SJ (2016), has assumed that in Southeast Asia, 45% of plantations occupy the space that in 1989 was forest, a percentage that in South America is 31%.

Aichi Goals

Despite the fact that the UN launched the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and points out on its website that the parties have made significant progress in achieving several of the Aichi Targets.

The next UN Conference on Biodiversity will be held next November in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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