By Reese Burns

On September 28th of this year, world leaders from 77 different countries made a promise to take the steps necessary to slow the catastrophe of human disasters. This promise is known as the “Leaders Pledge for Nature” and it states, “United to Reverse Biodiversity Loss by 2030 for Sustainable Development.” The vow to this pledge was heightened by the increasingly obvious loss of biodiversity, climate change, and ecosystem degradation caused by unsustainable production and consumption. The pledge consists of a list of actions all participants have agreed to working towards that will hopefully help the earth recover. The long-term goal is hoped to be achieved by 2050, where the ideal vision of the world lives up to the expectations of “Living in Harmony with Nature.”

Leaders Pledge for Nature consists of a set of 10 anticipated plans of action the contributors are expected to follow. Those include: (1) ensure that the global COVID-19 recovery is green, (2) the application of a strong support system for biodiversity, (3) take accountability for the loss of biodiversity and natural resources, (4) apply sustainable production methods, (5) strengthen “climate resilience in our economies and ecosystems and promoting convergence between climate and biodiversity finance”, (6) stop environmental crimes such as wildlife smuggling, poaching, etc, (7) promote conservation and restoration, (8) implement a “One-Health” system where the sustainability of health and the environment is considered above all, (9) financially support the means necessary to protect the planet, and (10) the backbone of the policy is science. If interested in reading a more detailed description of the Leaders Pledge for Nature, go to http://www.leaderspledgefornature.org

Despite broad support, some world leaders have opted against signing the pledge. U.S President Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison were among those who did not participate in signing the pledge for nature. To some people this may not come as a surprise, for these are a few of the leaders who have been known to show great reluctance in working to help the global environmental crisis.

Executive Secretary of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, Elizabeth Mrema, stresses how allowing devastating natural disasters caused by human activity to continue could even increase the likelihood of future pandemics. In addition, Mrema warns the public how this is “our last chance” to act if there is any hope to preserve the food and economic successes that rely on nature. 

Furthermore, in reference to human food sources, Professor Julia Jones at Bangor University states, “these myriad interactions of life underpin fundamental processes that our food production systems rely on, that stabilize our climate, that makes the planet livable. If the general public realized just how bad it was, it would shock them.”

In 2020 alone, hundreds of species have been determined to be at a greater risk of extinction than they were before. Species including North Atlantic right whales, Asian elephants, and 103 species of Madagascar’s lemurs are now a part of the 32,000 plants and animals currently endangered. In addition, it has recently been confirmed that two out of five of the world’s plant species are at risk of extinction, that’s 40%. 

It is clear that some world leaders are taking the current situation of the environment with ambitious hopes for recovery and urge widespread cooperation. As stated in the Leaders Pledge for Nature, “we cannot simply carry on as before.”

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