18.09.2019 | TOP NEWS, iDiv, Media Release, sDiv

Climate and biodiversity go hand in hand – climate change destroys our natural resources

Climate change is affecting nature, also in the forests of the Harz mountains. (Picture: Christian Müller)

Climate change is affecting nature, also in the forests of the Harz mountains. (Picture: Christian Müller)

iDiv scientists call for action to tackle climate and biodiversity change.

Leipzig. Global warming is changing nature and its diversity. It puts the resources at risk, that our diet and fundamental aspects of human life rely on. Increasing scarcity of clean water and fertile soil may lead to global conflicts. Many employees from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) will participate in the Fridays for Future demonstration which takes place on 20 September in Leipzig to get this on top of the political agenda. iDiv reseachers Nicole van Dam and Roel van Klink plan to give statements at Leipzig's Augustusplatz.

Statement by iDiv researcher Dr Roel van Klink: 

"We are here to remind our government that climate change is the largest threat our civilization has ever seen. We are here to remind them that they have the obligation to protect their citizens from its catastrophic consequences, no matter if that will happen next year or in 200 years. And we are here to remind them that they have the power to prevent the worst from happening. But climate change is not the only threat to the future of humankind.

We depend on nature. Nature provides us with food, clean water and air, wood and energy, and we enjoy being in nature. Nature is beautiful and interesting, relaxing, and sometimes scary. In other words, nature is part of us, and we’re part of nature. Yet, we’re destroying nature at an unprecedented rate.

It is estimated that there are some 8 million plant and animal species on earth. According to the report of the World Biodiversity Council earlier this year, one million species of these species are threatened with extinction. Also the diversity of our livestock species is declining. Almost 10% of all mammalian domestic livestock breeds have already gone extinct. This loss of diversity at all levels threatens our food security and wellbeing. And the climate crisis will make this much, much worse.

The grounds for the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis are deeply connected: overfishing and deforestation are made possible by the use of fossil fuels. The fossil fuel use leads to global warming, which causes the and the dying of the coral reefs. New threats keep emerging, such as the plastic pollution that is now everywhere, with unknown consequences for our health and for the natural world. At the same time, nature and biodiversity can provide solutions against the effects of climate change, for example by providing coastal protection and carbon storage in bogs and forests. 

And this is why these two crises must be tackled together.

The science is clear: we cannot continue living the way we do now. We need transformative changes to our economic system to prevent the climate catastrophe and the global mass extinction. If we continue with business as usual, this will cause war, famine and poverty, hundreds of millions of people will have to flee from their homes, and many thousands of species will go extinct.

What we need is to stop greenhouse gas emissions immediately, and the transformation to a sustainable civilization. Because we don’t want to go extinct, and neither does any other species.

Right here is where the change begins. With all of us. And we will not stop until we have secured a better future. For everyone.

Thank you."

 

Contact:

Dr Roel van Klink
Postdoc at sDiv Synthesis Centre
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Phone: +49 341 9733135
Email: roel.klink@idiv.de
Web: www.idiv.de/en/groups_and_people/employees/details/788.html

 

Prof Dr Nicole van Dam
Head of research group Molecular Interaction Ecology
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Friedrich Schiller-University Jena (FSU)
Phone: +49 341 9733165
Email: nicole.vandam@idiv.de
Web: www.idiv.de/en/groups_and_people/employees/details/eshow/van_dam_nicole.html

 

Sebastian Tilch
Media and Communications
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Phone: +49 341 9733197
Email: sebastian.tilch@idiv.de
Web: www.idiv.de/en/groups_and_people/central_management/media_and_communications.html

 

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