Last weekend the first meeting of the 99 citizens participating in the planet’s first, citizens assembly on biodiversity was held in Dublin. Chaired by Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, the assembly will discuss and make recommendations to the Government on ‘how the State can improve its response to biodiversity loss’.
There will be 10 days of deliberations, informed by contributions from a range of experts and a field trip over the course of the coming months. All of the information will be available online at www.citizensassembly.ie and there is an opportunity for everyone to make a submission to the assembly and these contributions will be considered during the deliberations.
Professor Robert Watson former chair for the Intergovernmental Panel on Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity and the IPCC gave the keynote speech. Professor Watson stated that 85% of the wetlands on the planet had been lost and that 12% of biodiversity was likely to go extinct and that it is imperative that we protect and conserve the biodiversity we still have but also restore what we have lost.
In Ireland, we have approximately 31,500 species of plants and animals, the vast majority of insects, fungi, algae and plants with just 1,000 birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles. About 65% of our land is agricultural land and about 10% is plantation forestry so about 75% of the Irish landscape is relatively intensively managed,” Dr Ferdia Marnell of the National Parks and Wildlife Service said. “Most of our biodiversity is in the other 25%.”
Professor Watson stated the key impacts on biodiversity loss is land use change, sea use change, exploitation of natural resources, climate change, pollution and the introduction of invasive species. The impacts have also accelerated over the past 50 years. He has called for a reduction in food waste, water waste and energy waste and that government systems need to be reformed to address development, economic, equity and security issues.
World Biodiversity Day aims to build a ‘shared future for all life’ is Sunday 22nd of May, a healthy natural environment is essential for all of us.
Above is a list of 22 actions, please do try to take a few of these and share them with you friends.