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On June 5, World Environment Day is celebrated, the annual event that promotes action in favor of the environment and its conservation in a sustainable way. This time, the main theme is biodiversity.

By Pablo Collazo

Environment Day constitutes a global platform to promote positive changes in the management of essential environmental aspects for life on the planet. This day prompts governments to establish nature protection measures; the private sector to produce sustainably and develop greener business models; citizens to improve consumption habits and everyone, in general, to inspire future generations to live in harmony with the Earth.

This year has been dedicated to biodiversity, since next October the global commitments to its preservation will be renewed at the XV meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China.

The last 12 months have been marked by events of tragic consequences, such as the massive fires in Brazil and Australia, with more than 16 million hectares burned, or even the current global health crisis of COVID-19, which do nothing but demonstrate the intimate relationship between human beings and the environment in which we live. Clearly, nature is sending us a message in capital letters.

The current pandemic situation is a consequence of the fact that, with the destruction of biodiversity, we destroy ourselves. The acceleration of climate change, deforestation, or changes in land use, among other phenomena, have caused an imbalance that has led to conditions conducive to the spread of pathogens between animal and human populations, which is called zoonosis.

But in order to turn the tables, it is necessary to be clear that the loss of biodiversity is not only an environmental issue but also an economic and social one.

According to the words of Eduardo S. Brondízio, an anthropologist at the Indiana University School of Arts and Sciences, to address the problem “we must understand the history and global interconnectedness of complex and indirect demographic and economic drivers of change, as well as the social values that underlie them ”. Population growth and per capita consumption or the exploitation of resources, which in many cases is done in one part of the world to satisfy the needs of consumers thousands of kilometers away, are factors that must be perfectly understood and integrated to be able to satisfactorily address the problem.

Not everything is lost. Although the Strategic Plan for Biological Diversity 2011-2020 cannot be considered successful, given the exponential increase in species loss suffered in the last decade, according to the results of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Platform for Science and Policy on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), we have before us the opportunity to reorient the relationship of the human being with nature, although it will not be an easy path.

It will be necessary to reinvent our way of life and place biodiversity and natural balance at the center of decision-making at governmental, business, community, family, and personal levels.

The latest IPBES report presents a broad list of initiatives and improvement plans in different sectors, highlighting energy, urban, financial and agricultural, among others. This document puts on the table the need to adopt an integrated and intersectoral management approach that contemplates the compensations that occur in food and energy production, infrastructure, water management, and biodiversity conservation. It is vital to establish policies that build a sustainable economy that moves away from the current economic paradigm.

Abengoa, always under the premise of creating innovative technological solutions for sustainable development, joins this global challenge and includes in its CSR Strategic Plan a line of study on the valuation of biodiversity and the conservation actions that are being carried out in its activities and projects, in order to apply them to other activities with similar characteristics and thus perpetuate good practices in this area.

There is a long way to go and, to be successful, we all need to put our grain of sand. Biodiversity and survival on the planet require new sustainable policies, new technological solutions, and, above all, a new, collective, and individual consciousness.

– Pablo Collazo
Environmental Sustainability Manager

“World Environment Day 2020 is dedicated to biodiversity, as global commitments for its preservation are renewed this year.

“The latest IPBES report presents an extensive list of initiatives and improvement plans in different sectors to reorient the nature-human relationship.