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Biodiversity Loss and the Climate Crisis

LoraKim is now in Nicaragua for a week, working with our partners on Ometepe Island to assist the endangered yellow-naped amazon and other parrot species that live there. So, it’s my turn again to write this week’s blog.

In addition to my work as Co-Director of One Earth Conservation, I am also a long-time environmental and climate activist. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been spending whatever time I can spare working, first, to assist endangered species and then, later, to alert as many people as possible to the dire effects of climate change that could be, and now to some extent are, upon us. In 2013 I trained with the Climate Reality Project to learn about and educate others about the climate crisis, why it is happening, why it matters and what each of us might do to avert the worst possible scenario. Despite many unfortunate setbacks, there have also been some recent gains, such as passage of New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

In parallel to my climate-related concerns, I have become increasingly alarmed about the major loss of biodiversity that is now occurring. In my blog on May 8, 2019, I discussed the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services issued by the UN group, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The first sentence of the press release regarding this report says it all:

“Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report …”

(Photo from IPBES website)

I find myself increasingly focused on the intersection of my work with One Earth Conservation on biodiversity loss, specifically among Latin American parrots, and my work as a climate activist. I see the intersection of these two huge issues everywhere – for example, poachers in Central America cut down trees to reach parrot chicks, which causes both parrot populations and the number of trees to decline. Those activities in turn accelerate both biodiversity loss and the climate crisis.

The IPBES report’s press release also includes this statement from IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson, ““The member States of IPBES Plenary have now acknowledged that, by its very nature, transformative change can expect opposition from those with interests vested in the status quo, but also that such opposition can be overcome for the broader public good,”

So, we all must keep our eyes on the two balls of biodiversity loss and climate change. If we admit what is happening, each do our part and don’t ever give up, together we can reach a tipping point that will make a difference.

If you are in the New York metropolitan area and would like to learn more about this issue, please click here to learn more about a free panel discussion hosted by the Climate Reality Project NYC Metro Chapter on Tuesday evening, July 23, 2019 about biodiversity loss and climate change on which I will be participating.

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