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Biodiversity crisis: we still need to take action!

It’s been almost two decades since biodiversity loss due to human behaviour and a changing climate was internationally recognized as a crisis. From the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 to last month’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Japan, governments have had ample time to take action and curb rapid species extinction, habitat loss, and water and land degradation.

Now it’s 2010 — anointed by the United Nations as the International Year of Biodiversity — and the problems are worse than ever.

In October, the UK’s BBC News ran an online article highlighting the immediate need for real action responding to biodiversity loss at regional, national and global decision-making levels. At the time of publication, government delegates at Japan’s convention were considering adopting a new set of targets for 2020 to tackle causes. But is this soon enough? Will it be too little, too late?

Biodiversity loss must be alleviated and dynamic actions geared to re-growth and sustainability must be actively supported. We must also practice holistic, integrated thinking. By implementing adaptation policies designed to tackle issues like water security and energy production, we can address biodiversity loss and more far-sighted and effective ways to protect and nurture the ecosystems on which all life depends.

This approach and more was outlined in ACT’s inaugural report,  Climate Change Adaptation and Biodiversity. Authored in 2008 by former BC Deputy Minister of Sustainable Resource Management, Jon O’Riordan, the report suggests transitioning to an ecosystem-based economy, one that values the natural environment as an economic asset.

ACT’s upcoming third report, on Energy: Climate Change Adaptation in the Low Carbon Economy, will outline complementary policy opportunities designed to help build a supportive framework for curbing biodiversity loss in BC as we shift to new energy sources.

Meanwhile ACT is facilitating a series of roundtables across Canada on climate change adaptation, governance and water security, ensuring a wide spectrum of perspectives and needs are voiced as we develop our fourth report, on water.

For more information on ACT’s work, please visit our website http://www.sfu.ca/act/program/index.html

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