Taking a more sustainable approach
Following a report made by the United Nations on the state of the planet, scientists have set out to encourage the public and businesses to take a more sustainable approach.The Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity Ecosystem stated that a million species, including humans, are at risk of extinction if we don’t change our ways, leading to renewed calls for a change in behaviour at both local and national level.
Panel chairman Professor Sir Robert Watson said when the report was published: “The evidence is incontestable. Our destruction of biodiversity has reached levels that threaten our wellbeing at least as much as human-induced climate change.
“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”
The report is one of the biggest and most thorough into the issue to date and has been compiled by 150 scientists from 50 countries. According to the data, human action has “significantly altered” three quarters of the Earth’s land and about two thirds of its seas. Hundreds of millions of tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other industrial waste are dumped into rivers and seas every year, while the ongoing issue of deforestation in South America and Asia continues to have an impact.
Further evidence points to the expansion of farms, hunting, climate change and pollution as contributing factors in the crisis.
The aim of the report is to provide an authoritative scientific basis for international action, and the hope is that it will lead to the same pressure for change as the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
Because, says Sir Robert – a former chairman of the IPCC – not only can we still turn things around, we must. The key, he says, is to start making changes now, at every level from local to global. The so-called transformative change would require individuals and business to participate in a “fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors.”
Innovative policies have been made within the past few years by many countires and businesses, but young people worldwide have had a major part in driving change. “ There is a groundswell of understanding that urgent action is needed if we are to secure anything approaching a sustainable future,” he says.
A holistic approach
Watson suggests that a holistic approach is needed, as the problem is – ironically – exacerbated by the fight against climate change. Current plans for reducing carbon dioxide emissions rely heavily on bioenergy – renewable energy produced by living organisms – which requires a lot of land, as some crops are grown specifically for this purpose. If farmland is used for this instead, we will have less food. What’s more, rainforests are being cut down in Indonesia and Malaysia to grow palm oil to make biodiesel for cars in Europe. The problem is clearly one of great complexity, requiring dedicated minds to reach sustainable solutions.
If your business is looking to improve the state of the planet, it’s likely to be eligible for the research and development tax credit scheme. Take a look at our research and development tax relief examples to see what the value of your claim could be, and contact us at R&D Tax Solutions in Manchester for full details.