Many people "get" the reality of global warming and the associated host of other ecological threats. But, of those, there are many who either think it's hopeless or are "wait and seers" and don't necessarily support prompt and potentially disruptive action.
Well the word from the United Nations "Convention on Biological Diversity" has opened its 12-day summit with a plain warning - we must take immediate action to stop the accelerating loss of animal and plant species and their habitat or face near-term, man-made mass extinctions.
"The time to act is now and the place to act is here," CBD executive secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf said, describing the summit as a ""defining moment" in the history of mankind, reports the Agence France Presse.
Scientists say climate change and human population pressures are destroying ecosystems such as tropical forests and coral reefs as well as animal and plant species. A recent report by WWF warned that the world's 6.8 billion humans were living 50% beyond its sustainable means in 2007 and that, at current rates, a second Earth will be needed by 2030 to meet the planet's needs.
The indifference of our political leadership from every party is bewildering. Can they not see what's happening or grasp what that means? Do they really think Canadians will be immune to the fallout from this?
We're nearing the end of the line. It's even visible to our satellites. Take deforestation, a key destroyer of animal and plant habitat. Some places are logging off valuable lumber where it really shouldn't be taken at all. In other places the forests are being cleared for space to farm biofuels. Still other places, like Western Canada, are seeing forests ravaged by climate-change induced infestations of pests like the Lodge Pole Pine beetle.
You don't need to grasp the intricacies of climate change science to understand the widespread destruction of coral reefs and the vital role those reefs play in sustaining marine biodiversity. You don't need a university degree to understand that we're steadily collapsing our fish stocks, one after another.
Unless you're one of these weird shits that believes the earth is 6,000 years old and embraces apocalyptic visions of the Rapture (oops, I really didn't mean to slag the Conservative government), the need to act is obvious. It's not a matter of throwing ten or twenty million dollars to research programmes or eco-organizations. It's a matter of resolving to do whatever it takes to arrest the devastation of our planet's biodiversity.
“Biodiversity underpins the health of the planet and has a direct impact on all our lives. Put simply, reduced biodiversity means millions of people face a future where food supplies are more vulnerable to pests and disease and where water is in irregular or short supply,” said James Leape, WWF International’s Director General.
“No one can escape the impact of biodiversity loss because reduced global diversity translates quite clearly into fewer new medicines, greater vulnerability to natural disasters and greater effects from global warming.”
So, what are the chances of meaningful action resulting from the Nagoya summit? According to Der Spiegel, the odds are pretty lousy. Once again the world is looking to the U.S. for leadership and, once again, America appears utterly indifferent.