As COP gets under way, we asked leading figures in the Blue Earth community to share their hopes and expectations.
Chris Butler-Stroud is Chief Executive of Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
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Are you going to COP28?
Yes, WDC is bringing its strongest team yet.
Because we are at a critical point in the biodiversity and climate crises. We call for action every year, but the data from the IPCC indicates that climate impacts are destroying human communities and tearing apart the very bedrock of nature and ecosystems that we need to nurture to help turn the tide.
What are your hopes for COP28?
We must hope that after years of high-level promises, and with scientific predictions coming home to roost, we see a huge shift in ambition and commitment as to how we must change the way we live our lives and care for this planet in the way it cares for us.
What are the biggest challenges to these hopes being realised?
War and economic pressures have made governments reluctant to engage their publics about what is necessary to do now, rather than in ‘ten years’ time’. We can no longer put off action in the hope that something miraculous will happen; but politics finds it hard to see beyond the next few months, let alone the next few years, all the while, denuding the very nature upon which we all rely.
What’s your single message to the global business community during COP28 and beyond?
While Governments appear to dither, you must take up the mantle of action. You have the ability, and the business necessity, to look beyond the horizon of annual meetings and turn risk mitigation into opportunity. You can invest in growing the nature capital assets that are the foundation for all economies; securing your long-term business future and enhance a thriving healthy world for all of us.
What keeps you optimistic about the global climate movement?
It’s an issue that should, and can, unite, an often-divided world.
People who dedicate their lives to nature and climate protection are part of a supportive community that span all age groups, professions, and religions. Climate and nature loss recognise no barriers to those lives it destroys; no amount of money can protect the individual or business from the changes that lie ahead if we do not act together.
Only concerted action by businesses, governments, academia, civil society, and the public, can achieve a safe and thriving future for us and all the generations to come.
Of all the transient things that divide us, the climate and nature emergencies should be the challenges we can overcome if we stand together – humanity in lockstep with the rest of nature.
Nature has always been there for us. It’s time we were there for it.