Voices of biodiversity: Perspectives of experts and activists on World Biodiversity Day

As the world grapples with the pressing need to conserve and protect our planet’s rich biodiversity, World Biodiversity Day serves as a poignant reminder of the interconnectedness between human society and the natural world. This annual celebration, observed on May 22nd, offers a platform for experts and activists from around the globe to raise their voices and shed light on the critical issues facing our ecosystems. By exploring the diverse perspectives of these individuals, we gain valuable insights into the urgent challenges and potential solutions that lie ahead in the realm of biodiversity conservation.

In this article, we delve into the thoughts and experiences of prominent experts and passionate activists who are dedicated to preserving and restoring Earth’s precious biodiversity. Their collective wisdom and unwavering commitment provide us with a glimpse into the magnitude of the crisis at hand and the need for immediate action.

Through their voices, we will explore the profound impact that biodiversity loss has on our lives, economies, and the delicate balance of ecosystems. From the destruction of habitats to the extinction of species, these experts and activists illuminate the consequences that arise from the unsustainable practices that have dominated our relationship with the natural world.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. The voices we encounter also offer a glimmer of hope and inspiration. They share stories of successful conservation efforts, innovative approaches, and community-led initiatives that are making a tangible difference in protecting and restoring biodiversity and the role of data and AI in supporting this progress. These individuals remind us that, despite the challenges we face, it is within our collective power to enact change and forge a sustainable future for generations to come.

As we commemorate World Biodiversity Day, let us lend an ear to these voices of biodiversity. Through their insights and experiences, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness of all life on Earth and realize our collective responsibility to preserve the astonishing diversity that makes our planet thrive.

Lisa Chilton, Chief Executive of National Biodiversity Network Trust

From woodlands to sea caves, and from butterflies to beavers, there’s one thing that all conservation strategies depend upon: good data. As the saying goes, ‘What gets measured, gets done’. We need robust data to understand the current state of nature, to set ambitious but achievable targets, and to measure progress. To get nature’s recovery done. The National Biodiversity Network Trust is the UK charity dedicated to biodiversity data. Our mission is ‘making data work for nature’ and we manage a network of more than 200 organisations that share and use wildlife data. Our data portal, the NBN Atlas, is the UK’s largest publicly accessible source of biodiversity data and provides access to the evidence needed for nature’s recovery. Our role might not be as appealing as those on the frontline, planting trees or reintroducing bison, but it’s every bit as critical.

The Biodiversity Credit Alliance Secretariat

Total investment in nature of USD 8.1 trillion is required between now and 2050 – while annual investment should reach USD 536 billion annually by 2050 – to successfully tackle the interlinked climate, biodiversity, and land degradation crises, according to the State of Finance for Nature report 2022. It is therefore critical that both public and private institutions work together, innovating to create mutually beneficial change that is aligned with what the world requires. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) calls on actors across society and our economies – including institutions in the public and private sectors – to work together to transform our relationship with nature. The Biodiversity Credit Alliance works to facilitate the transition to a nature positive economy aided by a high-integrity, efficient and scaled biodiversity credit market.

Kaz Bishop, Founder, Green Up Britain

Biodiversity is key to maintaining the healthy ecosystems that provide food, medicine, clean air and water, as well as a stable climate. Without it, the entire support system for life on Earth will collapse. This is why nature restoration and conservation is urgently needed. Without pollinators, invertebrates and microbes, which maintain the health of the soil crops grow in, we won’t be able to feed ourselves. Likewise, the loss of forest, wetland, grassland, soil organism and ocean-ecosystems (which lock away atmospheric carbon) will cause more frequent climate disasters. If we work together, we can help biodiversity return on land, in seas, rivers and lakes, but the window of opportunity is closing.

Stefanie Kaiser, Sector Head, Carbon Markets, Nature Based Solutions & Biodiversity at NatureMetrics

In the last year, the penny has definitely dropped that private finance needs to flow into nature restoration and conservation, and there is huge appetite from investors and corporations to invest in emerging environmental markets. Figuring out market mechanisms for ‘nature as an asset class’ are still causing a lot of headaches, as concepts like biodiversity cannot easily be encapsulated into tradable units, as is the case for carbon. One key challenge for making biodiversity investible is the need for robust methods for measuring biodiversity baselines and change over time to define biodiversity uplift or maintenance and then attach a monetary value to that positive impact on nature. This is where technologies such as eDNA can provide consistent, robust and auditable data on animal species and soil biodiversity across different ecosystems and countries. Today, we have a range of technologies – Earth observation, eDNA, digital field monitoring methods – that can work together to provide strong biodiversity datasets. A range of companies looking to use AI to aggregate these data layers have been emerging recently.

Zakia Rashid, Founder, MotherOceanBlue

Ecosystem resilience can be maintained by understanding the function and value of that system. The network of Marine Protected Areas in Raja Ampat is a wonderful success story where indigenous wisdom emerged triumphant over years of destructive, unregulated commercial fishing. The people of Raja Ampat have practiced conservation for centuries as part of their culture. By 1990 modern, destructive, fisheries decimated the area with dynamite fishing, shark finning, cyanide fishing and turtle hunting. With support, education and policy change the area saw a fish biomass increase of 600% in just 10 years. A conservation success story which proves real change is possible – driven by people, supported by government. Anything is possible for us as a species if we put our hearts and minds to it.

Wilson Chan, Founder, Permutable AI

Investing in biodiversity is not only crucial for the health of our planet but also integral to the success of ESG initiatives.  I strongly believe that protecting and preserving biodiversity is a fundamental responsibility that organizations must embraceBiodiversity loss poses significant risks to ecosystems, economies, and communities worldwide. It disrupts natural systems, threatens food security, and undermines the stability of our planet. That’s where the power of AI and data analytics comes in. AI and data analytics enable organizations to harness the immense potential of data to understand, monitor, and address biodiversity-related challenges. These technologies provide valuable insights into species conservation, habitat preservation, and ecosystem restoration. By leveraging AI and data analytics, companies can make informed decisions, prioritize biodiversity initiatives, and implement effective strategies for positive change.

The urgent need to protect and conserve biodiversity has become undeniable. World Biodiversity Day serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness between human society and the natural world. Through the diverse perspectives of experts and activists, we gain valuable insights into the challenges and potential solutions for biodiversity conservation. However, it is crucial to translate these insights into action. We must invest in biodiversity, adopt sustainable business practices, and leverage the power of AI and data analytics to monitor and address environmental risks within supply chains. Together, we can forge a sustainable future, preserve Earth’s biodiversity, and ensure a thriving planet for future generations. Let this World Biodiversity Day be the catalyst for what is so urgently needed.

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