In a new report, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) traces how our societies value nature in a context of species extinction.

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How much is nature worth? What is the cultural, symbolic or commercial value of an animal or a plant? These questions are central understand the erosion of biodiversity, which threatens a million animal and plant species, he analyzes scientists from the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). In a report released on Monday 11 July, IPBES experts estimate indeed that this crisis is “closely linked to the way nature is valued in political and economic decisions”. They regret that these decisions are too concentrated “short-term profits and economic growth” and be done “to the detriment of nature and society, as well as future generations”.

To address this situation, scientists ask “move away from dominant values” and to integrate other ways of seeing the world into our decision-making processes. “Reversing the human impact on biodiversity requires systemic and transformative change”, they say. The report cites about fifty methods to take better account of the different values ​​of nature: cultural, ecological, etc. – and invites decision makers to take it.

“The idea is not to ask everyone to behave like animists [croyance qui dote les animaux et les plantes d’une âme]but to realize that there are ways of thinking that respect nature better than us, such as those of indigenous peoples “, translated for franceinfo Philippe Grandcolas, observer of the CNRS at the IPBES. The ecologist, for example, asks for a true one “reconnection with nature” and cites the case of natural parks.

This report is the result of four years of work by 82 international scientists and experts. Its summary for policy makers was endorsed by the 139 governments, including France, that make up the IPBES. These conclusions have already been briefly addressed in some texts, such as the latest report on the sustainable use of wildlife, but this is the first time that the IPBES looks exclusively at our value system. In 2019, a global report by IPBES had already identified economic growth as a key factor in the disappearance of plant and animal species.


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