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The silence and sounds of biodiversity: Are we listening?

Dec 22, 2022

My column for Illuminem: December 22, 2022

An introspection and contemplation on what we stand to lose and at what price?

My year end column for illuminem draws heavily from the brilliant Maria Popova. We furiously continue to lose what we have. But do we really know all that we have? The magical biodiversity continues to unfold, reveal and amaze.

Rupert Read tells how “Avatar 2 should make us completely rethink our relationship with the planet”. He rightly warns that the #cop15 accord will be a paper tiger unless there is the will to implement it.

Marlene Greenhalgh shares some harsh truth. “The grave danger of the orgy of mutual self-congratulation that met the announcement of the Montreal accord is that it will encourage complacency among the public. It will give them (us!) the story that we all want to hear: that things are going to be ok; that we can safely outsource worrying about this more-than-issue to our governments; that they have this covered… Optimism of the intellect is not what we need at this time. For it amounts to little more than wishful thinking writ large. What we need is courage: to look the very difficult truth in the face. And a profound determination: to work together to start to build a different system; and to pressure this system we live under to transform”.

Daniel Christian Wahl has a time-tested prescription: “One way to rediscover the practices that helped Homo sapiens survive for over 200,000 years is to pay more attention to #indigenous wisdom and traditional place-based knowledge (where it has not already been completely lost). Indigenous human cultures are an expression of generations of co-evolution of humans within the ecosystems they inhabited… Cultures that have managed to survive for millennia within their bioregions have a lot to teach us. Over the last few hundred years we have developed the unfortunate habit of dismissing such knowledge as antiquated and calling such cultures ‘primitive’. Hypnotized by the apparent benefits of scientific and technological progress we made the mistake of dismissing traditional ecological knowledge that underpinned human survival for most of prehistory”.

Whatever, we continue to lose is not coming back. “Humanity is a weapon of mass extinction” to quote the UN Chief.

No form of insurance would protect us from that!

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