“We need to change our relationship with nature”

Created in 2012, IPBES, with 140 member states, is the IPCC’s biodiversity equivalent for climate explained Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Its experts, who met in May in Montpellier, worked on topics related to biodiversity and the contributions it has made to human society. Explanations.

Marseilles: In the first week of May, many more
than 80 experts from 50 countries gathered for Ipbes in Montpellier. Why?

Anne Larigauderie: Because the city hosts an IPBES mini-secretariat with 34 people. This part will be funded by Ipbes and partly by the University of Montpellier, with the support of the Region of Occitanie, which is in the ministries, Agropolis Montpellier. For three years, researchers will work on a new report: the question of change.

In 2024, during the plenary session, the results of the Montpellier group will be presented. The topic examined by these researchers is very ambitious.

What do you call “ transformation transformation » ?

AL: The work that started in Montpellier follows the global biodiversity assessment presented in Paris in 2019. It concludes that there is a real need for a profound change, called transformation, in our economic systems. , our financial systems, our ways of thinking, our value systems are related to nature. In the end, everything that affects the environment and what needs to be rethought. Because while we continue to think of the environment as an inexhaustible source of resources in our service, we cannot fundamentally change the way we operate.

The 2019 Global Biodiversity Report is very alarming ?

AL: Yeah. One of the main conclusions of the report, the sum of more than 15,000 scientific articles, is that we are witnessing the degradation of nature and biodiversity at a rate and on a scale that has never happened in human history. If nothing is done to reverse this negative trend, 1 million species of plants and animals out of a total of 8 million are threatened with extinction. This number has touched the consciences of the world. The report provides information on the causes of biodiversity loss. Environmental degradation such as deforestation is one of the first causes of such loss, the second is the direct exploitation of natural resources, the third, climate change. The fourth is pollution in all its forms, pesticides but also heavy metals, excessive use of fertilizers, plastics …

How is the extinction of biodiversity endangering humanity?

AL: We’re talking about the impact of biodiversity loss on the important environmental contribution to societies, that’s to say all the functioning of ecosystems that makes our life on Earth possible, and that we don’t know. For example pollination. In some regions with excessive use of pesticides, in Asia for example, where pollinators are lost, crops are no longer viable, especially anything related to fruit production, apples for example. Without pollinators, the flowers are no longer pollinated and there are no more apples. In some parts of China today, the Chinese import bees, in small cages, and release them around. They also pay people to climb trees with small brushes, and do the work of pollinating the bees, from flower to flower. A system of mini-drones was also made there, to do the work of the bees … Biodiversity is not just a question of a pretty cute and charismatic species that is lost on the other side of the world and so that it was a little sad. , and we will move on with our lives as if nothing had happened. What you need to look at is that this poverty in the living world persists everywhere, in all regions of the world, including the oceans, and with the gradual decline in the capacity of our life system, our environment. , who can support us, people.

The change changes you are talking about change
back to productivity?

AL: We need to rethink people’s consumption habits. Governments are asking experts to imagine what different scenarios and visions of a sustainable world will look like, and design the necessary social change to get there. This doesn’t mean less consumption, but better consumption, fixation, and it’s all starting to fall into place.

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