Can we halt the extinction of species?

Approximately one million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction. With this figure the World Biodiversity Council underlined the urgency of its first global report on Monday in Paris. Human beings are destroying the very life they depend on, warned Robert Watson, chairman of the UN body. Commentators say they know what needs to be done - but not how to do it.

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

End misguided subsidy policies

The Süddeutsche Zeitung explains what needs to be done to slow down species extinction:

“In the financial markets there needs to be more focus on examining the impact investments have on nature and biodiversity - as there now is in relation to climate protection. To protect biodiversity we need a global agreement like the Paris Agreement on climate action - where nations are contractually bound to protect much larger areas of land. That would compel European agricultural policy to focus on sustainability instead of mass production. With subsidies currently amounting to 60 billion euros a year, this would change a lot. And yes, the times of cheap meat must also come to an end.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Our rapacity knows no limits

Bert Wagendorp, columnist for De Volkskrant, doubts that human beings are capable of taking the steps needed:

“The mercilessness with which Homo Sapiens is exploiting the planet, driving out other species or destroying their habitats, is unprecedented in the history of life. There are no limits to our inventiveness and rapacity and the speed at which the drastic destruction is taking place is only increasing. ... The report is really calling for a new type of human being, free of egoism and greed and able to live sustainably in harmony with nature. It contains the warning that the 'transformative change can expect opposition from those with interests vested in the status quo.' That much is clear. And it doesn't make for optimism.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Man versus nature

Human beings and nature are just not compatible at the moment, writes Le Figaro:

“Let's be frank and admit that we are riddled with contradictions: we want immaculate lawns, free of vipers and moles, we like bees for making honey but we don't want them buzzing round our ears! Of course we need to change how we see the world ... Global growth is bringing a part of humanity out of poverty. But at what price for the environment? Who do we want to save: human beings or nature? Especially because human beings are dependent on nature. ... A modern dilemma that will be with us for a long time to come. ”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

At last a global approach

Dagens Nyheter, on the other hand, sees grounds for optimism:

“This is a well-conceived report with 130 countries behind it. That's good news. All too often the focus is on the individual and what the individual is doing wrong: domestic flights are bad, but ships are worse, and woe betide anyone who buys a new pair of jeans because the textile industry is a worse carbon polluter than the airlines and the shipping industry combined. Everything is bad and dangerous. ... In the end it all comes down to laws and regulations, a global agreement. And that is the positive aspect now: every nation that signs a report saying the situation is acute is committing to doing something about it.”