Reflections from a back garden on COP15

09 Feb 2023

From one of LINK’s Honorary Fellows, Claudia Beamish

On this bright day which augers spring, I pottered in the back garden amongst a range of peeking bulbs, budding shrubs and fruit trees.  There the breeze stirred my autumn-long pondering on why COP27 caught the headlines while COP15 did not?

The twin crises – nature and climate – are inextricably fused.

Check out the first day of COP15 from the protest by people of the Talama Nation on Canada’s W Coast – appropriately recognized– in President Trudeau’s opening speech to UN Secretary General Guterres’s stark warnings. 

So – robust targets were reached. Good. Though COP 15 is left to grow without the support, regulation and commitment of 27. Planning, monitoring and money will be at the heart of success or failure – to state the obvious. To do whatever can be done to keep the life giving support of mass public awareness on the cause of COP 15 is year round work. Protecting and rebuilding biodiversity goes hand-in-hand with tackling climate change. Instead, big business mutes the importance of biodiversity; monopolistic homogeneity is profitable and damn the socio-economic and environmental consequences!

On the Convention on Biodiversity website in the Poverty Reduction section, we are reminded that “Socio-political aspects of inequality, including gender and ethnicity, are inextricably linked with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. This is because indigenous peoples and local communities and women are important custodians of biodiversity and related traditional knowledge, although they are often marginalized and disadvantaged.

“The role of law and equity to manage nature contributes to an inclusive society based on justice and democratic decision-making. Recognizing rights to sustainable management of natural resources, enhancing values of biodiversity and related knowledge, and building an environment for equitable benefit-sharing has the potential to improve socioeconomic and political inequality among social groups.”

The interlinks are infinite and demand permanently ongoing action.  Check out – “Biodiversity and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.  Today it feels a long while since marching in Edinburgh for the Millennium Goals. Plus ca change! In relation to nature and climate justice, we have an obligation to assess the impact of what we do on the Global South and perhaps even to assess how we can help improve global biodiversity as we work on national and local projects.

Needless to say the failures of biodiversity action deeply affect people here in Scotland as well.

As I muse on inspiring projects from the macro – continuing to develop the National Ecological Network, to the micro – planting fruit trees around a rugby pitch in Fintry, I am keenly aware of the importance of community involvement. Let’s face it – our health and wellbeing ain’t great! However, fresh air and tending the soil can work what might feel like miracles for our psyche and for native seedlings!

The challenges of the Cop15 2030 Targets can feel deeply daunting. However, what ScotLINK and communities are doing and can do even more of, will bite out a big chunk of negativity and connect us all better to our land in the working together.

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