2022, the year for biodiversity?
2021 saw good news stories for wildlife worldwide, like conservation status change of the Eastern barred bandicoot from “extinct in the wild” to “endangered”, but it also presented serious and ongoing challenges for preserving biodiversity. It was another year of the global pandemic, biodiversity loss was omitted from UN COP26 agenda and none of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the UN agreed targets to conserve biodiversity from 2010–2020, were met, leaving us wondering what had we achieved for nature in the past 10 years.
Eco-anxiety is increasing globally and you only have to watch Netflix’s newest release Don’t Look Up to understand the frustrating political stream of thought on biodiversity loss and climate action. Humanity and the planet rely on biodiversity (the variety of plant and animal life around us) for health, wellbeing and economic stability. COVID-19 and the Australian bushfires of 2019–2020 are warning signs that our planet is unhealthy and that urgent action is needed to protect nature. So, what can we look forward to in 2022 to alleviate the loss of biodiversity we are witnessing at unprecedented rates?
One of the biggest cabs of the rank in 2022 is the UN Biodiversity Conference (also known as COP15) in Kunming, China in April. Originally set for 2021, the delayed conference is the biggest biodiversity summit in a decade and world leaders are expected to reach a deal to support nature and halt the destruction of biodiversity. The draft framework has already been released comprising of 21 targets and 10 milestones for 2030 including the conservation and effective management of 30% of land and sea areas, increasing financial resources for nature, and eliminating plastic waste. Unlike climate change, biodiversity is often more complex, and the two will need to go hand in hand if we are to have sustainable action for ecosystems. COP15 will be big for nature and could bring more hope that then disappointing COP26 targets.
Australian Federal Election
Climate change policy will be a big issue for the Australian Federal Election in May. Glasgow COP26 summit highlighted the change required and the collaboration needed across all sectors to tackle this issue. Australia is lagging behind and the Morrison government hindered agreement on much needed ambitious targets at the summit. 2022 is the year Australia gets to vote on issues that matter to them. New research from the Australian National University found 80% of Australian's are concerned about climate change and the lack of action on the issue in politics. Independent candidates advocating for climate policy are emerging in key seats, including Allegra Spender who is challenging Dave Sharma MP in the key seat of Wentworth. In the last election, we saw the power of independents pledging action on climate change win over "safe" seats, including Zali Steggall in Warringah. Australian's care about nature and if politicians don't listen, they can expect to be booted from the Parliamentary floor. This coming election, use your vote to support strong and effective action on climate change. Check out ABC's Vote Compass to see where you stand.
Conservation technology is an increasing global trend. A recent first-of-its-kind report led by WILDLABS assessed the current state of conservation technology. The report listed artificial intelligence, Environmental DNA and network sensors as the top 3 big game changers for conservation. Technology gives conservationists the ability to systemically understand and act on the biodiversity crisis. The report states one key area of growth is collaboration and information sharing. At Xylo Systems, we are doing just that. The Xylo cloud-based platform brings together conservation data as a tool for collaboration and uses artificial intelligence to analyse the vast amounts of data now being created in the conservation space for better decision making. Big things are coming in the conservation technology space and 2022 is the year for it.
In a few years of disappointments, with increasing effects of climate change, the pandemic and inaction on biodiversity loss, 2022 offers a new year for renewed action for wildlife and nature. Time to think big, act big.