The following letter will be delivered directly to U.N. delegates and negotiators and shared with international press. Please use the form below to add your organization.

To the Heads of Delegations negotiating on behalf of their governments and constituted groups,

A global mass extinction event is undeniably underway. 

Due to human industrial activity — and the failure of global leaders to meet previous biodiversity targets set in 2010 — one million species now face extinction, many within the next few years. 150 species are lost every day. The implications of this loss of life for global security and the survival of humankind are urgent and dire: Because the natural systems upon which we depend for food, health, and survival are collapsing at an alarming rate, a tsunami of adverse consequences is already being felt and observed across our economies, food systems, and the climate.

As such, the decisions you make this December at the fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal, Canada, will be the most consequential in human history. These negotiations to set new targets to protect biodiversity and prevent mass extinction in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will determine the survival of all life on Earth as we know it.

We, the undersigned advocates, artists, and organizations, urge you to adopt urgent targets to protect and conserve 50% of lands and oceans by 2030 in alignment with climate science. As concluded by the 2020 Global Safety Net report, achieving these targets will reverse the dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.

Secondly, as noted in the Global Safety Net report, Indigenous lands overlap extensively (37%) with critical ecosystems that must be protected to prevent catastrophic biodiversity loss and climate change. Therefore, we call for the urgent protection and strengthening of Indigenous rights and territories in the Global Biodiversity Framework.

Thirdly, we urge developed nations to commit the maximum amount of funding to support developing countries to reach these targets. Per the United Nations’ 2021 State of Finance for Nature report, committing just 0.1% of GDP to protect biodiversity would prevent ecological collapse. However, current funding commitments leave a $4 trillion gap in meeting critical biodiversity targets. Global superpowers and developed nations now have a historic opportunity to lead our world to safety by uniting behind frontline developing nations in an unprecedented and historic effort to prevent mass extinction.

Finally, we urge every government and negotiating party to support the adoption of the Rights of Mother Earth as an approach to implement the Global Biodiversity Framework, particularly in Targets 11, 15, and 19.1. Doing so would align with the current global shift in public awareness of humanity’s relationship with, reliance on, and inherent connection to nature. It would also support reciprocal relationships with nature, reflect the knowledge of many Indigenous communities, and establish the strongest international law possible to align environmental protection with human interests over the next decade.

Protecting our lands and oceans is as critical to addressing the climate crisis as reducing global emissions. Mangrove forests sequester four times the amount of carbon as tropical forests yet have been decimated by farming and aquaculture industries. Industrial fishing leads to the annual killing of 100 million sharks, keystone species that regulate critical ocean ecosystems that sequester carbon. A mere 3% increase in deforestation in the Amazon will push the world’s most vital carbon sink past its tipping point, altering the Earth’s climate and human life forever.

Meeting U.N. targets to limit global warming to 1.5°C requires bold, urgent international action to draw down existing atmospheric carbon by restoring natural carbon sinks and protecting keystone species that keep these ecosystems healthy. The forthcoming U.N. Biodiversity Conference this December is a crucial first step to accomplishing this bold action over the next decade. We urge you to take the above actions to prevent mass extinction, defend global security, and protect life on Earth. 


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