President Biden: Institute a National Biodiversity Strategy

President Biden: Institute a National Biodiversity Strategy

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Protect Biodiversity started this petition to President of the United States and

Our life-support system – nature – is collapsing. Wild animals and plants are disappearing at rates that have never been seen during human existence, and those rates are only increasing. We are only starting to experience the fallout of nature’s collapse: more frequent and deadly pandemics, a hotter planet, deteriorating human well-being, and global economic breakdowns. Without immediate action, worse is still to come.

Nature is the foundation of all life on planet Earth. Biodiversity – the full mix of life on the planet– is absolutely necessary for human existence. It is the foundation of ecosystems – the natural systems that produce clean air, drinkable water, a healthy climate, medicines, and food. Biodiversity also serves as a natural barrier against many diseases, including diseases that can turn into pandemics.

Nature is key to meeting climate goals. Rampant land use change such as global forest and grassland destruction causes biodiversity loss and increases the levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Increased greenhouse gas levels in turn increase Earth’s surface temperatures. This global heating then triggers extreme weather events like abnormal heat waves, cold snaps, wildfires, storms, and flooding. And without natural buffers like forests and wetlands, weather events are more likely to destroy homes, habitats, and food and water sources for all species, including ours.

Biodiversity conservation is critical to human health and key to preventing the next pandemic. Most new diseases, including those that become pandemics, start out in animals and “spill over” into people as a result of human actions. By destroying natural habitats and engaging in wildlife trade, particularly in markets where wild animals are sold and slaughtered, we create unnatural opportunities for humans to come into direct contact with wildlife, and provide ideal conditions for “spillover” to take place. Pandemic prevention strategies based on One Health - the principle that the health of people, animals, and ecosystems are linked – are needed immediately to identify and crack down on dangerous activities in order to protect human health worldwide.

Urge President Biden to seize an enormous opportunity to cool the planet, prevent pandemics, and improve global health security by instituting a National Biodiversity Strategy – a whole-of-government, nature-first approach, to:

  • Elevate nature to the same level as health and the economy, recognizing that healthy biodiversity is a human right, and that without it, all of our other systems will fail;
  • Account for the full value of biodiversity, and the costs of nature’s collapse to global public health and the global economy;
  • Encourage and support local, state, tribal, federal, international and private efforts to protect and restore nature; and
  • Apply these principles throughout the federal government to address the leading drivers of the biodiversity crisis. 

If we fail to stop the nature and biodiversity crisis, pandemics will multiply, and our planet will eventually become uninhabitable for our human species. Success will require a coordinated and urgent response that makes protecting Earth’s life-giving systems an American priority. We can do this.

The time for action is now.

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