Facing the sixth extinction
By 2050, more than a quarter of living species could disappear due to climate change, that has never occurred in human history. Today, a third of bird species in France are threatened.
There have already been five other “extinctions” since the appearance of life on Earth, that is to say mass collapses of species linked to sudden and rapid changes in environmental and climatic conditions. The last crisis, 65 million years ago, marked the disappearance of the dinosaurs. It was caused by the arrival of a huge meteorite that probably fell in Central America. Currently, we are witnessing a massive disappearance of species, at a rate at least a thousand times greater than the natural rate of extinction.
The”originality” of this sixth crisis, apart from its immense scale, is that it is not linked to external climatic upheavals but that we humans are the root cause. The five direct factors of change affecting nature have been identified (in order of importance): Changes in Land and Sea Use, Direct Exploitation of Certain Organisms, Change Climate, Pollution, Invasive Alien Species.
The IUCN Red List regularly assesses and reports on the health of the world’s biodiversity. The report is alarming. Worldwide, according to the latest update, 22% of all known mammals, 30% of amphibians, 12% of birds, 28% of reptiles, 37% of freshwater fish, 70% of plants and 35% invertebrates are endangered.
WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY?
Difficult as it is to clearly define what biodiversity is, it is easier to start with what it is not:
Biodiversity is not a list of independent species. It is a living, real and moving whole, the foundation of life on Earth. More than a characteristic, it is life itself. We call it “the living tissue of the planet”
Biodiversity is not just about the diversity of species. It also refers to the diversity of genes and ecosystems.
Biodiversity is not just an environmental issue. It is also an issue linked to development, to the economy, to security, society and ethics, it is a cultural issue. The term was first internationalized at the Rio Planetary Summit in 1992, a political event and not primarily a scientific one.
There are many ways to safeguard Biodiversity which vary according to the actors, the strategies and the means available. Some focus on law and legal action, others through technical innovation, but among the various solutions that exist, they are called nature-based solutions, which rely on ecosystems to meet global challenges are often overlooked or underestimated.
Concretely, they concern three types of actions, which can be combined in different territories, namely the preservation of ecosystems that are intact and in good ecological condition, the improvement of the sustainable management of ecosystems used by human activities, and the restoration of degraded ecosystems or creation of ecosystems.
What if, like nature-based solutions, we complement this with culture-based solutions? This is the commitment of VIVANT, to develop and deploy concrete local initiatives throughout France.
NB : ces sources et les différents rapports d’où elles sont extraites sont trouvables sur le site de l’UICN