Boston Biodiversity Talks:
Dr Jon Hutton

Biodiversity Revisited is a collaborative thought leadership process to co-produce a new, integrated five-year research agenda to effectively sustain life on Earth. As part of the Biodiversity Revisited initiative, the Boston Biodiversity Talks took place in May 2019 at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, USA, to begin exploring fresh thinking around biodiversity.

Here, Dr Jon Hutton, Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute, reflects on the signs of human-caused biodiversity loss all around us – and how we can change course. He highlights the zeitgeist moment that biodiversity is currently experiencing and urges the global community to seize this opportunity for momentum to bring about meaningful change that benefits all environmental emergencies.

Biodiversity Revisited is an initiative of the Luc Hoffmann Institute, in collaboration with ETH ZürichFuture EarthUniversity of Cambridge Conservation Research InstituteUniversity College London Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research and WWF. The initiative exists thanks to generous funding from the NOMIS Foundation, the MAVA Foundation and WWF International.

Boston Biodiversity Talks: Randall Krantz

Biodiversity Revisited is a collaborative thought leadership process to co-produce a new, integrated five-year research agenda to effectively sustain life on Earth. As part of the Biodiversity Revisited initiative, the Boston Biodiversity Talks took place in May 2019 at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, USA, to begin exploring fresh thinking around biodiversity.

Here, Randall Krantz, Process Facilitator and Member at The Value Web, reflects on observing the signs of human-caused biodiversity loss and how nature systems are human systems (and vice versa). He then suggests how we can change course to benefit people and our environment.

Biodiversity Revisited is an initiative of the Luc Hoffmann Institute, in collaboration with ETH ZürichFuture EarthUniversity of Cambridge Conservation Research InstituteUniversity College London Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research and WWF. The initiative exists thanks to generous funding from the NOMIS Foundation, the MAVA Foundation and WWF International.

Boston Biodiversity Talks:
Cyrie Sendashonga

Biodiversity Revisited is a collaborative thought leadership process to co-produce a new, integrated five-year research agenda to effectively sustain life on Earth. As part of the Biodiversity Revisited initiative, the Boston Biodiversity Talks took place in May 2019 at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, USA, to begin exploring fresh thinking around biodiversity.

Here, Cyrie Sendashonga, Global Director of the Policy and Programme Group at the IUCN, shares her thoughts on how history has been repeating itself in biodiversity conservation, and why effective global governance must make sure it is an inclusive process for lasting success.

Biodiversity Revisited is an initiative of the Luc Hoffmann Institute, in collaboration with ETH ZürichFuture EarthUniversity of Cambridge Conservation Research InstituteUniversity College London Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research and WWF. The initiative exists thanks to generous funding from the NOMIS Foundation, the MAVA Foundation and WWF International.

Boston Biodiversity Talks:
Dr Jasper Montana

Biodiversity Revisited is a collaborative thought leadership process to co-produce a new, integrated five-year research agenda to effectively sustain life on Earth. As part of the Biodiversity Revisited initiative, the Boston Biodiversity Talks took place in May 2019 at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, USA, to begin exploring fresh thinking around biodiversity.

Here, Jasper Montana, Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, speaks about the knock-on effects of all our actions and interactions on nature, and how new science and policy can impact how people value biodiversity.

Biodiversity Revisited is an initiative of the Luc Hoffmann Institute, in collaboration with ETH ZürichFuture EarthUniversity of Cambridge Conservation Research InstituteUniversity College London Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research and WWF. The initiative exists thanks to generous funding from the NOMIS Foundation, the MAVA Foundation and WWF International.

A new approach to biodiversity research

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The issue

The diversity of life that sustains humanity is being severely degraded by human action leading to a deterioration in land, air and water quality, loss of natural ecosystems and widespread declines in populations of wild species. These changes are well documented and of existential significance to human societies, yet significant knowledge about the problem has not catalysed effective broad-based action.

Biodiversity refers to the variety and variability within living organisms that is believed to contribute to the stability and resilience of living systems, offering insurance against predictable and unpredictable future environmental change. It also directly supports human livelihoods and wellbeing. There have been some responses to biodiversity loss but these have been piecemeal and ineffective. This may be because the concept of biodiversity is vague and the systems involved are complex – there is still only a basic understanding of what constitutes a dangerous degree of biodiversity loss. It is therefore not surprising that concern about biodiversity is not widely shared within society. It also explains why governments and businesses are able to ignore the issue.

A significant community of researchers, NGOs and others are deeply concerned about the lack of traction that biodiversity has in policy and mainstream economic activity. The framing of biodiversity may have taken us down the wrong path in terms of the issues to which society ought to be paying attention. This may have made it more difficult for a holistic framing around nature, the biosphere or the Earth system to gain momentum.

The response

To address this situation, Biodiversity Revisited will critically examine the biodiversity narrative and consider what it would take to move closer to a new, innovative agenda around sustaining the biosphere. What would such a framing look like and what would its new science encompass?

The project will convene interdisciplinary experts in an intensive collaborative research process to critically evaluate what has come before – and to think creatively about the future of the science and policy that underpin biodiversity conservation. Biodiversity Revisited will create a new research agenda for society to effectively sustain the biosphere.

The project aims to deliver the following outcomes:

  1. New awareness and thinking about biodiversity from concept through measurement to implementation;
  2. Fresh ideas and a five-year research agenda in the context of the 2020 processes for biodiversity, climate and land; and
  3. More effective and targeted research for the equitable and effective management of the biosphere as the foundation for human development, security and life on Earth.

The Luc Hoffmann Institute provides the role of the secretariat for this project, working with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Nature Sustainability, Future Earth, ETH Zurich Department of Environmental Systems Science, the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute (UCCR) and the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research at University College London (CBER).

The major part of the work is funded by the NOMIS Foundation with contributions from the MAVA Foundation, WWF-International, ETH Zurich and others. Further fundraising is still required to meet the partners’ ambitions for broad regional representation in the programme.

For more information please contact: biodiversityrevisited@wwfint.org