By Roberta Attanasio
A newly released report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) provides a scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity, and pollution emergencies—and invites the world to make peace with nature.
The report. “Making peace with nature: a scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies” (February 18, 2021), is based on evidence from global environmental assessments. It points out that humanity’s environmental challenges have continued to grow in number and severity for the past 50 years, and now represent a planetary emergency.
“Humanity is waging war on nature. This is senseless and suicidal. The consequences of our recklessness are already apparent in human suffering, towering economic losses and the accelerating erosion of life on Earth,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in the report foreword. “Making peace with nature is the defining task of the coming decades. We must seize the opportunity presented by the COVID-19 crisis to accelerate change.”
Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that the degradation of ecosystems is not only undermining Earth’s life-supporting systems, but is also leaving our societies and economies tremendously vulnerable to sudden shocks. Notably, the report outlines a path to a sustainable future with new possibilities and opportunities.
The well-being of today‘s youth and future generations depends on an urgent and clear break with current trends of environmental decline. The coming decade is crucial for halting these trends—Earth’s environmental emergencies and human well-being need to be addressed together to achieve sustainability. The economic, financial and productive systems can and should be transformed to lead and power the shift to sustainability.
We all have a role to play in ensuring that human knowledge, ingenuity, technology and cooperation are redeployed from transforming nature to transforming humankind‘s relationship with nature and therefore secure a sustainable future.
The report shows that we have the ability to transform our impact on the world. A sustainable economy driven by renewable energy and nature-based solutions will create new jobs, cleaner infrastructure and a resilient future. Be being at peace with nature, we can all enjoy better health and full respect of human rights.
Below is a video message by Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director.