This article was originally published on All Africa


“AllAfrica’s Melissa Britz spoke with an expert on the state of our planet’s biodiversity and what we can do about it. Belinda Reyers, is a Professor of Sustainability Science at Stellenbosch University, and a Coordinating Lead Author of the Global Assessment and Lead Author of the African Assessment for The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

…Biodiversity – which broadly encompasses the wide diversity of species of animals, plants and microorganisms and the ecosystems (like savannas or wetlands) in which they live – underpins almost every aspect of our lives. Our food, water, medicines, clothing, health, holidays, social relations and wellbeing can all be traced to a species or ecosystem providing us with these benefits.

Some of these benefits may be replaceable, but many are not. Some come from far away and can thus be invisible to us in our daily lives. But no matter how invisible they are, losing species or part of an ecosystem will have direct impacts on people. In fact IPBES shows that these impacts are already having negative effects on communities more directly reliant on species and ecosystems like rural farming or coastal communities dependent on species and ecosystems for food, shelter, energy, and clean air and water.

We show that the impacts of these declines in species and ecosystems are inequitably distributed with those who can afford it the least, already bearing the highest cost. Many of us who are less directly reliant on species or ecosystems may think we are less affected, but IPBES highlights that we are all in fact being impacted by these declines in significant ways – through our mental wellbeing, our health, our culture and our identity eroding as we lose nature and important connections with nature. We are all poorer for this loss….”

Read on at: All Africa.