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Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1507915

One Earth

Last April, the journal Science Advances published a paper calling for a “Global Deal for Nature.” Its unified objective: protect ecosystems to combat climate change and combat climate change to protect ecosystems. The planetary ecosystem functions only within the integrity of all its parts.

The Global Deal aims to set aside 30 percent of the planet’s lands for various degrees of protection from development and destruction by 2030, with additional protections for another 20 percent by 2050, including conservation guidelines for oceans and freshwater ecosystems. A description of requirements also is offered by biologist E.O. Wilson to set aside 50 percent of our planet’s terrestrial and oceanic spaces for other species within the next few decades, insisting that it is both “essential and achievable.”

The Global Deal demands zero net emissions as soon as possible, and a dramatic reduction in deforestation, poaching, and other threats to species and ecosystems. The paper emphasizes that the interconnections of all individual habitats are needed to ensure global biodiversity, and establish a self-sustaining planetary whole, while serving as natural defenses against the literal threat of unraveling Earth’s precious life support systems.

Last week, the Trump Republican administration finalized its drastic rollback of the Endangered Species Act, radically compromising protections for plants, fish and wildlife coming under the ESA’s ever-expanding purview. The new rules will fundamentally eliminate the original protections of species and ecosystems by allowing for economic considerations when deciding whether a species (and its habitat) should be protected. It says that states could open hunting and trapping seasons on newly listed species unless explicitly prevented from doing so. And it removes considerations of climate change projections on potentially endangered habitats if they are not anticipated for a vaguely notated “foreseeable” future.

Prioritizing temporal economic gain over long-term habitat and ecosystem survival is madness. This for-profit “poaching” of vital living systems and their services is nothing less than ecocide. Ignoring the objections of hundreds of thousands of scientists and wildlife experts, this administration is willfully, unilaterally authorizing the destruction of our life-supporting global commons.

We all live on one Earth. Maintaining natural habitats is required to maintain species survival and ultimately the survival of all species, including man. In the face of accelerating losses of wildlife and their environments worldwide, it is almost impossible to comprehend the suicidal intelligence expressed in these rude decisions to compromise the great promise and hope of the ESA.

If we continue with this “business as usual,” the relentless for-profit destruction of the natural world with little or no consideration for the endgame, then it will be the endgame, and few pieces of this amazing puzzle will remain.

James EwingWater Mill

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