Transforming humankind’s relationship with nature is key, according to a new report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Part I of the report highlights that the current expansion mode of development is degrading and exceeding the Earth’s finite capacity to sustain human well-being.
The world is failing to meet most of its commitments to limit environmental damage and is not on track to meet the goals set out in the Paris Climate Agreement, according to the authors of the report this now represents a full-scale planetary emergency.
Every person benefits from clean air and water, a protective stratospheric ozone layer, a hospitable climate and the many
additional benefits that land and oceans provide, including food, medicines, energy, materials, inspiration and a sense of
Societies have dramatically increased the production and extraction of food, energy and materials, resulting in economic,
technological and social advances and increased prosperity. However, the exploitation of nature has now reached unsustainable levels and is undermining the Earth’s capacity to sustain human well-being.
The report highlights that human prosperity is strained by widening inequalities, where the burden of environmental decline weighs heaviest on the poor and vulnerable and looms even larger over today’s youth and future generations.
Based on these findings, the authors of the report highlight that only system-wide transformation will enable humanity to achieve well-being for all.
They highlight that the transformation to sustainability will involve changes in behaviour, culture, material flows and systems of management and knowledge transmission.
Immediate action is required to mitigate climate change, conserve and restore biodiversity, improve air and water quality, make more efficient use of resources and reduce the adverse effects of chemicals.
Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate change at WWF-UK commented on this report: ‘Nature, our life support system, is in freefall, causing devastating impacts to humans and wildlife across the globe. As this report shows, making peace with nature will not only benefit us all but is vital for our very survival.
‘Globally, we must urgently address the climate crisis that’s damaging our natural world, and limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees – for our own sake, the sake of the planet and future generations.’
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