Every year on June 5th the world celebrates World Environment Day. This year the theme is biodiversity, which is a core piece of any healthy environment. Currently we are losing species at the fastest rate ever in human history. The following is a useful resource explaining what biodiversity is, why it is under threat, and what are the direct actions you and I can take to help protect biodiversity.
Scientists for Global Responsibility and Declassified UK have published a report which assesses the key environmental impacts of the UK military, arms industry and related sectors. It provides a detailed assessment of UK military greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – arguably, more in-depth than previously provided in a report in the public domain. It also gives an overview of other related environmental issues, especially those of particular concern, such as impacts resulting from weapons-use, the management of military nuclear waste, and the environmental impacts should nuclear weapons ever be used in war.
Kwibuka Yearly Meeting in Burundi engages Friends and non-friends through a wide range of actions to encourage environmental protection and economic development. This happens through the “Christian Action in a World of Distress” Program. Some of the activities include teaching young vegetable farmers to make organic pesticides and fertilizer to prevent environmental degradation, how to transform non-biodegradable plastics into useful tools, and offer retreats to foster youth leadership in climate action. The group is also planning to open three new nurseries to help combat deforestation.
The Earth School is a collection of videos exploring and explaining the environment through quests running from Earth Day (April 22nd) to World Environment Day (June 5th). Each quest encourages young people to learn more about our planet, how all of its different moving parts work, and why it is important to take good care of our shared home. For example Quest 12 delves into biodiversity, provides an introductory video, engaging questions, and further resources. The project is supported by the United Nations Environmental Program, National Geographic, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivered a powerful message where he shared that “The current crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call. We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future.” He continued by proposing a six-step plan for action. On the same link you will also find the message of General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande who wrote that “We will only preserve Mother Earth through a paradigm shift from a human-centric society to an Earth-centred global ecosystem.”
Geoff Tansey lives in the UK and curates the open education on-line resource the Food Systems Academy and is a member of the Food Ethics Council. In this article he explains how COVID-19 has made it clear that military spending will not keep us safe, which also highlights the impending dangers and impacts of climate change. Tansey calls for a shift from military spending to investments in the resilience of our food systems, biodiversity, and climate.
Geoff Tansey’s books include The Food System: a guide (with Tony Worsley) and co-editorship (with Tasmin Rajotte) of The future control of food – A guide to international negotiations and rules on intellectual property, biodiversity and food security. This latter book came out of work he did as a consultant with QUNO Geneva the Quaker International Affairs Programme of Canadian Quakers. He is an honorary visiting fellow at the Universities of Cardiff, Lancaster and Newcastle and a member of Brighouse West Yorkshire Area Meeting.
A group of interfaith groups working on the international climate negotiations, which this year were supposed to take place in Glasgow, have released a statement regarding its cancellation, as well as speaking on COVID-19 and climate change. The Quaker United Nations Office helped write the statement, and Friends World Committee on Consultation is a signatory.