By Stephen Leahy
PARIS, Feb 1, 2010 (IPS)
Rich countries are like biopirates, looting far-away lands for food, raw materials and cheap labour. They’re plundering other richer ecosystems because they’ve largely destroyed their own. And they’re blocking global efforts to create an independent scientific assessment panel that is likely point the finger at the real reason species are going extinct at 1,000 times their natural pace, experts say.
European politicians were “shocked” to learn that just 17 percent of Europe’s ecosystems were in decent shape, Dominique Richard of the European Environmental Agency told participants on the final day of the U.N.-hosted Biodiversity Science Policy Conference in Paris.
“We’ve just completed our first complete assessment of the state of biodiversity in Europe and the results really shocked policymakers,” said Richard, a European biodiversity expert.
Most of Europe’s natural systems that provide essential services like food, clean air and water, climate regulation and so on have been in decline for years. But no one in Europe really notices.
That’s because the rich are “geosphere people” who help themselves to nature’s ecological services anywhere in the world, said Ashok Khosla, an eminent Indian environmentalist and founder of the Delhi-based Development Alternatives Group, who was representing the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The poor, on the other hand, are “ecosystem people” who depend directly on local resources for their livelihoods, Khosla told delegates. The ecosystem people cannot afford to get their food or water elsewhere, so if they degrade their own ecosystems, they suffer the direct consequences. Continue reading