UCKFIELD, UK, Nov 23 (IPS) – As we stand at a critical crossroads in climate change, we must recognise the inextricable link between nature and climate. This connection has been overlooked for far too long. IAR’s COP28 campaign, ‘Give Wildlife A Seat At The Table,’ is gaining support from prominent figures such as Joanna Lumley, Peter Egan, and Jo Brand, who are joining forces with the organisation to address the urgent need for wildlife representation.
The campaign aims to push world leaders to seriously consider the planet’s wildlife and the biodiversity crisis during COP28 discussions.
As the world gears up for COP28, the urgency of addressing climate change has never been more apparent. However, it is crucial to recognise that climate change is not a standalone issue; it is intricately linked to biodiversity loss and, ultimately, the health and wellbeing of humanity. It is important to understand the critical role that conserving wildlife, habitats, nature, and ecosystems plays in mitigating climate change and safeguarding our shared future.
The toll on people and wildlife from climate change is not a distant threat; its impacts are already being felt across the globe, affecting both human populations and wildlife. Communities are already experiencing the adverse effects of rising sea levels, extreme weather events, flooding, droughts and severe storms.
Similarly, the changes to global weather patterns due to climate change pose direct threats to ecosystems worldwide. These changes disrupt habitats, pushing hundreds of thousands of species to the brink of extinction. As ecosystems unravel, the intricate web of biodiversity is compromised, affecting the delicate balance that sustains life on Earth.
We are now at a critical moment in global climate action. This urgency is underscored by a year of record-breaking temperatures and extreme weather events across the planet. COP28 serves as an evaluation of the progress since the promises made in Paris at COP21 and how effective these commitments have been in limiting long-term global temperature rises.
At COP28, we are hopeful that world leaders will come together, representing their countries, and step up their commitments to slow global heating. They will also consider the funding and adaptations needed to support the communities most affected.
The central question arises: Is it right that wildlife does not have a voice at the table where decisions impacting the entire planet are made? Wildlife must be given due representation in these discussions. Wildlife must have a seat at the table! International Animal Rescue (IAR) is leading the charge to ‘Give Wildlife A Seat At The Table,’ mobilising 10,000 voices to implore world leaders to prioritise wildlife and biodiversity during the discussions.
IAR envisions a world where humans and animals thrive together in sustainable ecosystems. Conserving biodiversity is not just about protecting endangered species; it’s about preserving the intricate web of life that sustains our planet. Healthy ecosystems, thriving with diverse plant and animal species, act as a natural buffer against climate change.
IAR’s conservation programme, IARconserves, embraces a holistic, one-health approach. By adopting community-centric, grass-roots strategies, the outcomes positively impact people, wildlife and the environment. Through IARconserves, we have improved the health and prosperity of forest edge communities; in turn, this has reduced the environmental impact of human activity.
By conserving wildlife and their habitats, forests are protected, ensuring that millions of tonnes of carbon remain stored in the flora and deep peat below.
As we approach COP28, the call to ‘Give Wildlife A Seat At The Table’ becomes more urgent. The success of this campaign hinges on collective action – individuals, communities, and nations coming together to advocate for a more sustainable and inclusive approach to climate discussions.
It is imperative that the international community recognises the inextricable link between climate change, biodiversity loss, and human health. Conservation efforts must be elevated on the global agenda, with a commitment to preserving wildlife, habitats, nature, and ecosystems. By doing so, we not only mitigate the impacts of climate change but also foster a world where both human and non-human inhabitants can thrive.
The urgency is palpable; the time for action is now. The ‘Give Wildlife A Seat At The Table’ campaign by International Animal Rescue calls for world leaders to consider the planet’s wildlife and biodiversity during COP28 seriously.
With a target of 10,000 signatures on the petition, the campaign aims to ensure that the voices of wildlife are heard in decisions that affect all of us – people, animals, forests, and the entirety of our interconnected ecosystems. You can find out more here.
Gavin Bruce is Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue
IPS UN Bureau
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