2020: let’s put nature top of everybody’s to-do list

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Wildflowers and a photo voltaic solar power station near Lucainena de las Torres, Andalucia, Spain.

2020 will be a crucial year for the environment and, since we all depend on the natural world, it’ll be an important year for us too. It’s a time for important actions and decisions that will impact people everywhere for generations to come. We need to stop destroying our precious environment and start to restore nature so it can keep providing us with essentials such as food, timber, water and clean air. Otherwise we risk losing the life support system offered by our shared home. We must make sure the loss of nature is being reversed by 2030 and restore it to more sustainable levels by 2050.

Let’s get nature higher on the agenda

We’ve got a big task for 2020 and it’s too urgent and important to ignore − we need world leaders to do the right thing and it’s up to all of us to make sure they take action and are held to account.

We’ve succeeded before in getting important decisions agreed on environmental issues − back in 2015 when the climate change agreement was signed in Paris and when the Sustainable Development Goals were agreed at the UN. So we can do it again! We need to build on those successes and push nature to the top of everybody’s to-do list.

Why is 2020 different to any other year?

Time is running out. We’re losing biodiversity – the precious web of life – which means we’re losing wildlife and nature. In my lifetime we’ve lost two thirds of global wildlife populations and carbon emissions have risen by 90%. To pull our planet back from the brink of collapse, we need to put an end to this, starting in 2020.

I call 2020 the ‘super year’ because for nature, and therefore for us humans, this is the year it could all change. There are two significant reasons why 2020 matters:

1) If we want to reverse the trend of nature loss by 2030, we need urgent action in 2020. It will take some time to turn this ship around so we need to start now to restore nature so that people and wildlife − that so depend on nature − can thrive now and in the future. And we need everybody – individuals, citizens, governments, businesses, mayors, everybody – to step up in 2020 and take urgent action to protect and restore nature, before it’s too late.

2) 2020 is also the year of important global moments for the environment. And if we manage to push decision-makers to achieve positive results in all those meetings, we will help create a more sustainable future.

Those moments include:

● The 75th birthday of the UN which is celebrated during the opening of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2020 in New York as well as the Biodiversity Leaders’ Summit which might take place at the same time and place. These will provide prime opportunities for world leaders to declare that it is no longer acceptable to continue to degrade our planet and that urgent action to restore nature starts now.

● The UN deciding on a new 10-year framework for biodiversity under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at its 15th Conference of Parties (COP-15) in October 2020 in Beijing. These goals and targets need to set the path for nature recovery around the world and reflect the reality that healthy economies and societies are dependent on healthy natural systems.

● At the 26th Conference of Parties (COP-26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2020, countries will have the opportunity to enhance their national action plans to ensure that the goals of the Paris Agreement are achieved. Currently, country plans do not add up to keeping global warming below 1.5 or 2 degrees which is necessary to avoid catastrophic change. So we need more ambitious plans that also recognise the critical links with restoring natural systems and achieving sustainable development.

● Some of the environmental targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will expire in 2020. At the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July 2020 in New York, countries need to extend them meaningfully up until 2030, the overall deadline of the SDGs and recognise that achievement of the SDGs will depend on successfully restoring natural systems and addressing climate change.

We have about 1,000 days until the end of 2020. We’ve got a lot to get done in that time, so we better get started. And I know we can do it, if we put our minds and hearts into it!

Find out more about the unmissable opportunity for the world to change direction in 2020.

Check out our report on how climate change impacts on species in our ‘Wildlife in a Warming World’ report.

Bernadette Fischler is Head of Advocacy for the 2020 Project. She is based in the UK.
Twitter @baernadette

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  • Maria Jaucian Mora

    I totally agree with this. It is better to start early rather than losing everything because of disregarding it. Global warming can already experience now and it is a problem for all. Earth is our home, our environment and it is our responsibility to take care of it. It provides us everything we need – food, medicines and etc. But because we are irresponsible, our environment is suffering. It is slowly becoming a dark forest. It is time for us to give back to nature by restoring it. It is a long process but with our determination, it will happen. This will be our last card and if we didn’t take it seriously, it will also be our ending.

  • Roselyn Pascual

    I think this idea was the best. We must start to think of many ways on how to save our beloved nature because our lives depend on it. By simply watching our carbon emission can truly help on preserving our home planet. As the time hits the modernization, the invention of toxic technologies also flourish causing some serious issues like global warming, climate change and scarcity which is very visible right now. Lets take a step on saving our Mother Earth. It’s not like we’re gonna stop using cigarettes when we already have a lung cancer, it is better to stop it early before anything bad could happen. It’s more like prevention is better than cure. In a battle with nature, you win or you die. If our nature, the source of our everything dies, we could also die.

  • Zhaira Kim Gonzaga Cantos

    I think this article is a great idea. But why should we wait for 2020 if we could do it now? Global Warming is being experienced. Our ozone layer is depleting, the arctic sea ice is melting, forest fires are spreading, and the wildlife are losing their habitats. We must care for our environment, or should I say for our “home”. Because we are the main reason why our environment is being destroyed and we are the ones who also needed it. The change must start on our houses, like reducing plastics and segregating wastes. We should start now, before it’s too late!

  • jorein

    I think this article has a good purpose.We should be responsible in the mess that we’ve done.We should start to think a way on how we can conserve our nature. Little things such as using paper bag instead of a plastic one and not throwing our garbage anywhere will do.Cooperation is a must.Our beloved Earth is screaming for help.We should take an action now, before it’s too late.

  • Kyla Jade Malinao Miguel

    I like this concept. It’s a big challenge for us; a daily challenge for us actually. We don’t have to wait for the targeted year or time just to take such action. We’re frequently getting bad environmental news, and that means our nature is calling for help. NOW is the right time to put nature a top of everybody’s priority. NOW is the time to do a little help, like reducing the use of plastics and throwing wastes in the right place. This requires human discipline. I see a “domino” effect on it. Like, if human population grows, the human activities increase as well. The animal habitats are destroyed, either causing it to kill the animals or leave their place. Then, they experience environmental disasters and difficulty in living space, in supplying enough food, water, and raw materials. It’s very alarming to know the impact of our actions in the ecosystem. Organisms rely on each other, so we need to conserve our nature and to make sustainable growth and development an ultimate goal. If organisms are lost, that’s our loss. Let’s use our role efficiently in the biosphere.

  • Kim Angelie Malabanan

    This article is an eye-opener. I totally agree with this. In our daily lives, we must not only look for ourselves but also for the planet that we lived in. It’s slowly changing and the changes slowly affect us. We may not feel it now but sooner or later we will. I belive in humanity that we could save the world. We could save this planet. I think that our action should start with ourselves. By simply doing things right like throwing your trash in the right bins. If we’ll wait for the others to start then we will only prolong it. Depending it on others isn’t right. This world is ours, not only to people but also to the animals. It’s hard to see that it’s slowly falling down because of people’s wrong doings. One thing is only needed to do to make this world better, it’s discipline. I believe that everyone’s will is to save this planet. Mother Earth is needing our help and we should open our eyes and start doing actions to save not only the Earth but also the humanity and every living and non-living things in this world. I believe that TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK. So lets start taking action now. It is NOW OR NEVER.

  • Jermaine Esguerra Mujer

    This is a great idea, and I agree with this. This concept was really a eye opener for everyone that if we lost our nature we might lost ourselves too. Us humans depend on what the nature produce to us so we must make a action on how to save our planet even in some simple things like turning off the faucet when not in use and be systematic in throwing up garbages. Our world is slowing falling. We must our own system to make make the world new again. Our action must be balance, we produce we consume. The better we produce the better we consume lets help the environment to grow bigger and to last lonnger for us to lean by. We must save our planet to save ourselves