The problem: biodiversity loss
Biodiversity loss is happening at an unprecedented rate: The current rate of biodiversity loss is estimated to be 100 to 1,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. Habitat destruction is the primary cause of biodiversity loss: Human activities such as deforestation, conversion of land for agriculture, and urbanization are major drivers of habitat destruction, which leads to the loss of species.
Biodiversity loss: why should we care as humans?
Biodiversity loss has serious consequences for humans: Biodiversity loss can have negative impacts on food security, public health, and economic development. It also reduces the resilience of ecosystems to climate change and other stressors.
Urgent action is needed
Urgent action is needed to address biodiversity loss: The United Nations has declared the period from 2021 to 2030 as the "Decade on Ecosystem Restoration," and calls for urgent action to protect and restore biodiversity.
What can we do?
Protected areas are important for conserving biodiversity: Protected areas such as national parks, wildlife reserves, and marine protected areas can help conserve biodiversity by providing habitats for threatened species and preventing habitat destruction.
The importance of indigenous and local communities in the protection of biodiversity
Indigenous people have traditionally been effective in biodiversity protection due to their intimate knowledge and close relationship with the land and ecosystems they inhabit. They often have a deep understanding of the ecology and biodiversity of their territories, which has been acquired through generations of lived experience and observation.
Indigenous peoples have also developed traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) over centuries, which is a system of knowledge, practices, and beliefs that have been passed down from generation to generation. TEK is often based on direct observation of nature and is deeply rooted in cultural and spiritual values. This knowledge has proven to be effective in managing and conserving ecosystems, as it is adaptive and has evolved over time to suit local conditions.
Beyond a neo-colonial approach
However, their efforts are often hampered by factors such as land rights issues, discrimination, and marginalisation, which can limit their ability to fully participate in conservation efforts. Recognising and respecting the rights and knowledge of indigenous peoples is crucial to achieving successful biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
In many biodiversity protection efforts human influence and interventions were seen as non-beneficial. The narwhal rainbow alliance is built on the philosophy of people-planet-profit where also human livelihoods and health are seen as a key ingredient for succesfull biodiversity protection.
What we can learn from permaculture for biodiversity protection | towards optimalisation
Many humans think that all human intervention is bad for ecosystems and biodiversity. There are however developments that show the contrary. For example permaculture which is an agricultural and ecological design system that is based on principles of sustainability, self-sufficiency, and cooperation with natural systems. Permaculture is closely related to biodiversity because it seeks to create diverse, resilient, and self-sustaining ecosystems. Permaculture design principles emphasize the importance of working with natural systems and maximizing the use of biological resources to create productive and healthy landscapes.
What are rainbow allies? And why is that the focus?
Rainbow allies are people that acknowledge the value of all creatures and hence also have empathy for the challenges within the LGBTQ+ community. Currently there is a big funding gap for biodiversity protection. Reaching new target groups can help in closing this funding gap. Rainbow allies and the LGBTQ+ community know what it is to be threatened in their existence and often have a big eye for social justice issues. They can intuitively quickly understand the need to strive for a world where the value of ALL creatures matter.
Queers (like all individuals) should be concerned about protecting biodiversity, both for its intrinsic value and for the benefits it provides to human beings. This includes supporting efforts to conserve and restore habitats, reducing our impact on the environment, and promoting sustainable lifestyles and practices. Additionally, it is important to recognize that the impacts of climate change and loss of biodiversity can have disproportionate effects on marginalized communities, including queer communities.
The power of queer animal and nature stories works both way: environmental & social
Using queer animal and nature stories can help reach new target groups to collect funding for biodiversity protection in an inclusive way. However these stories can also be used on school to have a conversation about the role of sexuality and gender in nature.
Queer animal stories can serve as a means of education and awareness-raising. By presenting same-sex relationships and behavior in non-human animals, these stories can challenge common assumptions about what is "natural" and "normal." This can help to break down stereotypes and stigmas around homosexuality and same-sex relationships.
Queer animal stories can help to promote empathy and understanding towards individuals who identify as LGBTQ+. By depicting animals with same-sex attraction or behavior in a positive light, these stories can help to humanize LGBTQ+ individuals and combat discrimination and prejudice.
Queer animal stories can serve as a tool for teaching children and young people about diversity and inclusion. By introducing them to different types of families and relationships, including those with same-sex parents or caregivers, these stories can help to foster understanding and acceptance from an early age.
Join us on this journey towards a more vibrant and diverse world. Whether you are a rainbow ally or a member of the LGBTQ+ community, your support is vital to our cause.
Together, we can make a difference and create a world where everyone is welcomed and celebrated. From humans, ecosystems to animals.