Giving Compass' Take:
- Reports urge world leaders to understand biodiversity loss and climate change as one global environmental problem rather than separate issues.
- How might this lens help with eliminating silos in environmental efforts to address climate change? How will this approach be effective?
- Learn more about the challenges of climate change.
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A new editorial published in more than 200 health journals challenges health professionals and world leaders to look at global biodiversity loss and climate change as “one indivisible crisis” that must be confronted as a whole.
The authors of the editorial call separating the two emergencies a “dangerous mistake,” and encourage the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a global health emergency, a press release from The BMJ said.
“The climate crisis and loss of biodiversity both damage human health, and they are interlinked. That’s why we must consider them together and declare a global health emergency. It makes no sense for climate and nature scientists and politicians to consider the health and nature crises in separate silos,” said Kamran Abbasi, editor in chief of The BMJ, in the press release.
The editorial, “Time to treat the climate and nature crisis as one indivisible global health emergency,” was published in journals all over the world, including The Lancet, East African Medical Journal, National Medical Journal of India, Medical Journal of Australia, JAMA and Dubai Medical Journal.
The climate crisis has exacerbated extreme weather, air pollution, rising temperatures and the spread of infectious diseases across the globe. The biodiversity and climate crisis impacts human health, with the most vulnerable and poorest communities bearing most of the burden, the authors wrote in the editorial.
“This indivisible planetary crisis will have major effects on health as a result of the disruption of social and economic systems — shortages of land, shelter, food, and water, exacerbating poverty, which in turn will lead to mass migration and conflict,” the authors wrote in the editorial.
Green spaces are essential for helping combat air pollution, cooling the air and ground and giving people the opportunity to connect with nature, get active and interact with each other, thereby reducing depression and anxiety.
At the 2022 United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP 15), world leaders agreed to conserve a minimum of 30 percent of the land, oceans and coastal areas on Earth by 2030. However, the authors of the editorial said nature and climate scientists who supply the evidence for the conferences mostly work independently and many of the agreed-upon targets have not been fulfilled.
The authors argued that the risks, along with health impacts that are already occurring, point to the need for WHO to declare the nature and climate crisis together as an indivisible global health emergency at or before the May 2024 World Health Assembly.
Read the full article about global crises by Cristen Hemingway Jaynes at EcoWatch.