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Biodiversity loss threatens society, businesses and a well-functioning economy

Biodiversity has decreased by 60 percent in just four decades, the WWF Living Planet Index has concluded. Scientists even speak of the Earth entering the sixth extinction event in its history, and it appears that the destruction of natural habitats may have been the starting point of the COVID-19 crisis and could generate other epidemics in future.

As the Minamata Convention on Mercury reaches the third anniversary of its entry into force, I am so inspired by the work of those who are seeking to improve conditions for the world’s artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) communities by advancing solutions to the rampant use of toxic mercury in ASGM.

Loss of nature carries a huge economic cost, but embracing it as a solution pays handsome dividends

The coronavirus might have its origins in the caves of Yunnan province, but make no mistake: nature did not create this crisis, we did. When we encroach on the natural world, we do more than cause environmental damage. The huge economic cost of the coronavirus pandemic is an illustration of a larger truth: we pay dearly when we destroy nature. 

This year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples offers a moment to reflect on how difficult the COVID-19 pandemic has been for Indigenous peoples around the world and how much promise there is from ongoing initiatives to support and engage these communities who have much to teach the world about resilience, traditional medicine, and protection of both land and sea.

It is not easy to plan for the future during a pandemic or a recession. But this is 2020, and governments and businesses are working hard to navigate both challenges at once.

As they do so, it is incredibly important they cast aside the notion that the environment is a tangential concern.

The coronavirus outbreak that shut down most of the world is a zoonotic disease that jumped from wildlife to people, a symptom of growing conflict between human and natural systems.

Sustainability is the pathway to recovery and resilience

The global phenomena of the COVID-19 pandemic is tangible evidence of how an imbalanced ecosystem can bring massive economic damage and social inequalities, putting millions of lives and businesses at risk. In the long run and, more importantly, the environmental divide and degradation of natural ecosystems pose a significant risk to the viability of the global economic system. 

  • The best way to build resilience against future pandemics and the impact of climate change is to move to a circular economy.
  • Doing so could address 45% of global greenhouse gas emissions and provide a $4.5 trillion economic opportunity.
  • Here, the co-chairs of the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy recommend four areas for businesses and policy-makers to focus on.

COVID-19 has created a human tragedy on a huge scale, with deep consequences for the global economy that will lead to an extended recession and long-term hardship.

Five years after the Paris Agreement was reached, the need for global action on climate change is clearer than ever. Calls for mitigation and a green economic recovery continue to catch headlines, even if in the margins of the COVID-19 newsreel.

Communities will act as a brake on the excesses of businesses that prioritize value for shareholders

The COVID-19 crisis has shaken up how we view the world. It has shown that many of our political and social structures are built on privilege and inequality, breaking through the clutter and smug self-satisfaction of our times, and turning the spotlight on what is truly important.