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This post is a reflection of the fourth session of lectures from AEMS (Alternative Economic Monetary Systems, Summer School) presented by the Professor and Researcher Helga Kromp-Kolb, about the topic „Climate change & Biodiversity loss “, on the 22nd of July 2021.
Glacial and interglacial ages are documented along planet Earth’s existence since 600.000 years ago, which means that there is evidence of energy from astronomic changes that influences the stability of temperature. Recently, the temperature in the Arctic appears to have hit a new continental high, close to 70 F and it is estimated by a recent report that 80 percent of the glaciers in Alberta and British Columbia could melt in the next 50 years. However, as a consequence of the industrialization, a systematic warning regarding greenhouse gas emissions concentrations has started already in the 1970’s and it is clear by now that our current situation goes beyond influences of astronomic changes. From the time of the first Industrial Revolution, to material and technology developments, to social- and political events, to modern times, and consequently to globalization; we could see the emergence of a trends that shows a constant development of an economic system that nowadays is exposed more than ever as harmful to nature and society alike. It might sound too harsh to call a whole ‚development history ‘as something collapse, but after all, the impacts of such inflexible conceptualizations of development coupled with economic growth fully influenced by economics, may have resulted in more challenges than benefits to our environment (considering society and nature) and even our future. While the human population increases, the need of extraction of more matter and resources from our planet parallelly increases the demand of land, food production, mobility and other things, such as goods and resources – as we can observe in the diagram from Brian D. Fath’s lecture. In consideration of the massive consumption- production ways of living of our global society, available resources of the planet start to be over exploited at some point, for example the earth-overshoot day shows. Additionally, the practice of extraction, production, consumption and discard also cause in several levels’ harmful consequences to the environment – global warming and a biodiversity loss.
Nowadays in 2021, we find ourselves for over a year challenged by a pandemic, which is not the first one and certainly won’t be the last, if we choose to do nothing against the economic system developed, create and have bigger commitment with policies and remove economic growth as the main goal of our development. The planet is a complex whole ecosystem but very simple nature ecosystem and our socio-economic system is embedded in the larger planetary system and that our conceptualization of the economy needs to finally recognize this, in order to recover and mitigate massive biodiversity loss and enable us to promote a better future. The consequences of climate change involve aspects that include the global warming, social inequality, pressure in natural resources, biodiversity loss and the unbalanced biophysical conditions to our planet and an unsafe future living for next generations. Deforestation biodiversity- and ecosystems loss for example, as a result of land-use change for agricultural production, and the extensive and constant frequency of this habitat destruction influences their reduction of species (which each has a crucial role in the ecological system and food chain), the temperature balance, quality of air, water and soil, bringing further consequences not only to humankind but all beings.
In order to transform this reality, a commitment from the public- and private sector is surely needed to engage with environmental and societal spheres which will have an effect on the ways of production, consumption and living of productions, consume and living. What is needed, is a global systemic change that should release the dominant paradigm focusing only on profits and swift to a circular open economic model, that shouldn’t not focus on quantitative growth but qualitative growth/development, which also conserves matter and energy during production phases, reduces the waste, stops deforestation and starts minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
„The fundamental problem of climate policy is not the scientific facts but conflicts over world views and values“.
Written by: Natana Char and Parimal Vikrant
Based on the lecture "Climate change & Biodiversity loss" by Helga Kromp-Kolb during the AEMS summer school 2021.