One hundred days and counting: conservation scientists on COP15
Scotland’s leading conservation scientists are joining forces to inform and inspire public debate on the ground-breaking research undertaken to protect fragile habitats around the world. Looking towards the start of COP15 in Montreal on December 7, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), is partnering with Scottish Government and NatureScot to reveal the early inspirations, driving forces and ambitions of key researchers.
The move to bring closer understanding between scientists and the wider public gears-up in the coming weeks. COP15 - the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity - is the latest in a series of world gatherings to discuss how we conserve the variety of plant and animal life on Earth. It follows the COP26 summit in Glasgow last year which focussed on climate change. This time, the emphasis is on mitigating threats to the complex web of all life on the planet. The critical need for action is not only professional but personal for the experts reaching out for better communication.
Through a series of posts on Scotland Conservation Science at RBGE Botanics Stories some of our most respected scientists explain their motivation. For example, why we cannot afford ecological research that does not have clear impact, how climate change is causing mountain plant communities to shift, “the most fantastically wonderful thing” to have happened to them and why they want to “save the world!”
Dr Caroline Lehmann, Head of Tropical Diversity at RBGE, explained: “Global aspirations are unachievable if they don’t take into account local ecology and communities. Communities must be engaged and empowered to take actions appropriate to their situation. That must be matched with Global and National policies and agreements cognisant of the urgency of the climate and nature crises that recognise biological diversity as the foundation to supporting people the world over. It’s an old adage, but global solutions are local ones.”
Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater said: “The Scottish Government is committed to tackling the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, both at home and abroad. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh plays a vital role in safeguarding and enhancing biodiversity here in Scotland and around the world.
“Internationally, over 250 cities, subnational and local governments have now signed our Edinburgh Declaration calling for bold action to halt biodiversity loss. This shared statement of intent has provided a platform establishing the central role of the subnational constituency in delivering for biodiversity. We look forward to taking the Edinburgh Declaration to COP15 in Montreal this December.
“Here in Scotland, we are consulting on an ambitious new Biodiversity Strategy, which will be published later this year. The strategy sets out what our natural environment needs to look like by 2045 in order to reverse biodiversity decline and protect our environment for the future. I would encourage everyone to share their views and help us shape this crucial roadmap toward a better and more sustainable future for Scotland.”
Scotland’s Chief Scientific Adviser for Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, Mathew Williams concluded: “The combined climate and nature emergencies are at the heart of government, and these topics have strong scientific perspectives. There are already warning lights for biodiversity loss, for air, soil and water pollution and for land system change. Some of these lights have been flashing for decades but the warnings are now more urgent. Communication at every level is key and must not be ignored.”
For further information, image or interviews please respond to this email or contact Shauna Hay on 07824 529 028 or Sandra Donnelly on 07312 128 637
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is a leading international research organisation delivering knowledge, education, and plant conservation action around the world. In Scotland, its four Gardens at Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan attract more than a million visitors each year. It operates as a Non-Departmental Public Body established under the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985, principally funded by the Scottish Government. It is also a registered charity, managed by a Board of Trustees appointed by Ministers. Its mission is “To explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future.”
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