Humanist Climate Action COP15 Declaration

1 November, 2022

Humanist Climate Action is a volunteer-led network of Humanists UK members and supporters committed to redefining lifestyles and campaigning for policies that promote low-carbon, ethical, and sustainable living in the light of the degeneration of the Earth’s climate and biodiversity.

Ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15 meetings scheduled for December 2022, Humanist Climate Action has published a statement calling for urgent action to halt the biodiversity crisis.

The 20th and 21st centuries have witnessed the fastest ever wildlife loss, with global species extinction estimated at thousands of times higher than the natural extinction rate and a 60% overall decline of UK species. Globally monitored populations of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians may have declined by as much as 68% since 1970.

The urgency and seriousness of this crisis cannot be overstated. Life is a complex web of connections, and the survival of our own species also hangs in the balance due to the interdependence that exists between ecosystems and all species. Food and water supplies, clean air, recreation, and natural resources are just a few of the aspects of nature that humanity relies on, and these are all threatened by the ongoing loss of biodiversity.

Climate and nature breakdown will affect people of all beliefs and will not respect national boundaries. It is therefore essential that we call for determined action from governments, particularly on the following:

  • a comprehensive strategy for the protection and restoration of nature;
  • policies that support farmers and consumers to reduce meat and dairy production and consumption, reducing the pressure of intensive farming;
  • protection of at least 30% of the world’s oceans from human activity via a legally binding covenant that secures these ‘ocean sanctuaries’ from human exploitation;
  • recognition of the land rights of indigenous communities;
  • protection and restoration of peatlands in the UK;
  • expansion of native woodland;
  • ambitious targets for increasing species abundance;
  • more spaces for nature in urban areas.

Not only do we need to halt the loss of species, we also need to increase species abundance and restore lost biodiversity. In the UK and around the world, native habitats should be protected and mindfully restored (with native species). Humanist Climate Action is calling for ambitious targets for nature restoration, backed up by funding and a regulatory regime to hold companies, governments, and individuals to account for unlawful destruction of nature. Nature recovery and restoration should underlie policies across housing, recreation, food and drink production, infrastructure, resource use, education, and corporate governance.

Tackling the biodiversity crisis goes hand-in-hand with tackling the climate crisis. The loss of biodiversity is both a driver and result of increasing temperatures as environments that were previously carbon sinks disappear and are replaced by carbon-emitting land – reducing the earth’s ability to self-regulate temperature and atmospheric composition. Therefore, all policies must look to tackle the climate and the biodiversity crises together.

We call for swift progress to be made on a new set of goals for nature at COP15.

Notes

For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at press@humanists.uk or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

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