ZSL helps launch The Big Nature Debate
Tuesday 14 September 2010
Public concerns about biodiversity loss can be put to experts through a new online initiative launched by ZSL and partners - ahead of the Nagoya conference in October.
British people are worried about the drastic loss of native species, the effects of climate change on global wildlife and over-fishing, according to recent research.
Yet 85% of those asked did not know that next month officials from 193 countries are meeting in Japan to take important decisions about the future of biodiversity, which could affect how we protect, manage and make use of the planet’s diversity of life for decades to come.
ZSL has joined forces with its International Year of Biodiversity 2010 partners, the Natural History Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to launch The Big Nature Debate – aimed at getting the public talking about biodiversity and the world around them.
The debate will be a platform for information, opinion and discussion about biodiversity issues ahead of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) which is being held in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010.
While governments recognise the importance of the problem, the outcomes from the conference will also rely on ordinary people to understand the issues and help build a more sustainable society. Without this there will be little chance of long-term success.
Dr Robert Bloomfield, Director of the International Year of Biodiversity UK, said "The rapid loss of biodiversity and natural systems will affect the lives of everyone in coming decades.
"From our research we know that one in two people in Great Britain, for example, is really worried about the dramatic loss of nearly 500 species of plants, animals and fungi from England in the last 200 years. Two thirds (65%) of people asked would like to know more about issues such as over-fishing and the loss of biodiversity.
“However, species loss is only one part of the problem. The human race relies on the biodiversity of the natural world to maintain the healthy environment in which we all live.
“Biodiversity loss threatens the health, wealth and well-being of the world’s population and will have consequences for generations to come. It is crucial that we understand the scale of the issues and as a global society respond to them while we still can.
“We want to get people talking about these issues and inspire them to make a difference. Very few people (12%) know there is an important meeting next month to take decisions about biodiversity.
"Only 13% of those surveyed could explain what biodiversity – the amazing variety of life on our planet – is, and how we benefit so much from it. With the Nagoya conference next month, The Big Nature Debate could not come at a more important time and we hope to capture the interest of as many people as possible.”
People can visit www.nhm.ac.uk/bignaturedebate where they will be able to quiz the experts, debate issues in forums, subscribe to the RSS feed for latest updates and get biodiversity news through Facebook or Twitter.
The site will host thought-provoking blogs from biodiversity experts and other key thinkers on subjects such as what the world might look like in 2050 or if biodiversity loss has reached a crisis point. There is also the opportunity to pose questions to a panel of scientists for a live streamed debate on 7 October 2010.
Join the debate. Visit www.nhm.ac.uk/bignaturedebate for more information.