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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #258 (Feb) - biodiversity, Humanity faces the sixth extinction (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Fri, 1 Apr 2016 18:12:59 +0300

Since its emergence in 1988, the word "biodiversity" has become a source of confusion and amalgam because, in an apparent evidence, biodiversity is actually a complex concept. Yet it expresses a reality of the living world undermined, especially since the expansion of the capitalist mode of production. ---- In the broad sense, biodiversity is the variety and variability of living organisms. It is defined in Article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity[1] as "the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part ; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems ". Biodiversity is therefore not limited to the sum of cash, but represents all interactions between living things and with their physical and chemical environment. "In its broadest sense, the word is almost synonymous with life on earth. "[2]

The dependent humanity

The dependence of human societies to biodiversity demonstrates that human well-being is inseparable from the health of ecosystems. According to the Foundation for Research on Biodiversity[3], biodiversity refers both to its intrinsic value, related to the importance of biodiversity itself, but also the heritage value related to interest culture, identity and history that is of biodiversity and finally to its utilitarian value, related to the resources provided to human societies.

But it is this last vision that remains dominant. Not only food, fuel, materials or drugs, but also climate regulation, maintenance of major biogeochemical cycles (water, carbon...), pollination, or the relationship of humanity with nature.

Surrender to the UN in 2005, the evaluation of the Millennium Ecosystem is a report to assess the extent and consequences of the changes occurring in ecosystems. Its main conclusion is that mankind has changed ecosystems more rapidly during the last fifty years since the beginning of its history: destruction and contamination of natural habitats , overexploitation of natural resources, introduction of species from one environment to the and other global warming lead to irreversible loss of biodiversity.

The " sixth extinction " is running: the pace of species extinction due to human activity continues to accelerate. Its impact rivals that of five massive biological crises that have punctuated the history of life from 500 million years - the last, there are 65 million years, that precipitated the fall of the dinosaurs.

On top of the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992, the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) commits signatory countries to protect and restore the diversity of life. Each year, the signatory countries are organizing a Conference of Parties (COP) to advance the implementation of the Convention. Since 2012, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), modeled on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was launched.

The policies implemented based on: conservation that aims to keep the state a natural environment by the establishment of protected areas; protection which seeks to impose reasonable limits on the exploitation of natural resources; the restoration of ecosystems ; Finally, compensatory measures meant to counterbalance the negative effects of human activities by restoring other ecosystems - as airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

Ecosystem Assessment Millennium - cited - concludes that it is possible to meet the challenge of reversing the degradation of ecosystems processes, but it requires profound political changes and practices that are far from being underway[4].

But as the climate crisis , if awareness of the damage to biodiversity is progressing and if solutions primers take shape, the disaster continues his wild ride.

Ending the sixth great extinction!

The two fundamental obstacles to the implementation of any solution are, on the one hand in the deadly expansion of the capitalist mode of production and the utilitarian ideology of nature considered as a single resource pool.

Of course it is not to denigrate the fighting those who are fighting for the development of protected areas, ecosystem restoration. But it is certain that the measures advocated by the United Nations, even if implemented by States, will not be sufficient. And within the capitalist system, whenever a conflict between a multinational combat biodiversity , power takes up the cause of "growth"...

The destruction of biodiversity will continue as will the capitalist class power. The solution requires three revolutions incompatible with the maintenance of the capitalist mode of production: a revolution in trade, ending globalization, a revolution in consumption patterns and a revolution in production methods[5].

But it will not suffice to reverse this power. A transformation of the human relation to the living world is necessary. In exploiter posture of nature we must return to our place a simple link in the living world, respectful of other forms of life and developing all necessary cooperation to achieve a new balance not just ensuring our future but the future of the living world as a whole.

Jacques Dubart (AL Nantes)

[1] Adopted at the top of the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992.

[2] "Biodiversity, which covers this word? "On CNRS

[3] The Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB) was created in 2008 at the initiative of the French Departments.

[4] Ecosystem Assessment Millennium[archive], UNEP, 2005.

[5] " Facing the ecological challenge, three revolutions are necessary " on www.alternativelibertaire.org

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