Does helping animals also help the climate? Yes!
The climate and biodiversity crises overlap in many ways, and so attention to one can create solutions to both. Keeping in mind that the term biodiversity may encompass both the variety and the abundance of living animals, plants, and even ecosystems, read on for an introduction to the big picture, several fascinating (and surprising) examples, and some promising new policy developments.
Start here for some ways attention to biodiversity can also serve as climate action:
- “How to protect species and save the planet — at Once” (Matt Simon, Wired)
- “Biodiversity solutions also fight climate change” (Tara Lohan, The Revelator)
For some fun examples:
- “Animating the carbon cycle: Earth’s animals vital allies in CO2 storage” (Mark Hillsdon, Mongabay)
- “Nature-based climate solutions” (Mongabay) A compilation of stories from a good journalistic source on this topic.
- “What a living whale is worth — and why the economy should protect nature” (Ralph Chami, TED talk, 15 minutes) Fascinating take by a financial economist. Along with this talk, see “Nature’s solution to climate change.” (Ralph Chami and others, International Monetary Fund)
For other resources:
- The U.S. White House maintains a “Nature-based solutions resource guide” full of examples and other useful information.
- This technical scientific publication is reasonably readable: “The role of large wild animals in climate change mitigation and adaptation” (Yavinder Malhi and others, Current Biology)
The United Nations is well aware of the interdependence of nature, climate, and human welfare, as these recent articles illustrate:
- “Biodiversity crisis affects billions who rely on wild species, researchers say” (Elena Shao, New York Times) This story about an assessment prepared for and approved by the U.N. is especially good on the importance of local and Indigenous knowledge.
- December 2022 saw the (relative) success of the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, aka COP15. On the process, see “Drama, dismay, triumph: nail-biting climax to the world’s biodiversity deal” (Patrick Greenfield, The Guardian)
- For a summary of and some context for the COP15 agreement, see “2022: the year rewilding went mainstream — and a biodiversity deal gave the world hope.” (Max Benato, The Guardian) Beginning with a reminder of the “1 million species at risk of extinction and a 69% average plunge in wildlife populations between 1970 and 2018,” this piece is full of links to related Guardian stories.
- In March 2023, all members of the U.N. agreed to a high seas treaty, the first since 1982 and an important step toward significant global action: “Nations agree on ‘world-changing’ deal to protect ocean life.” (Leo Sands and Dino Grandoni, The Washington Post)