For many it sounds unrealistic: 30 percent of the earth should be placed under protection by the year 2030. Germany and the entire EU want to campaign for this 30 times 30 target at the World Conference on Nature in Montreal at the end of the year. The member states of the European Union agreed on this last week.
Admittedly, it won’t be easy. Currently, less than 15 percent of the land area and only about 7 percent of the oceans are protected. But it is doable and above all: It is probably the last chance, the world raging species extinction to get a grip on before it also has drastic effects on humans.
If we do not succeed in stopping the overexploitation of animals, for example through overfishing, and the destruction of their habitats, for example through deforestation, within this decade, many species and ecosystems will become one point of no return reach. A tipping point where everything just keeps getting worse and where it is no longer possible to reverse the trend – no matter what man then tries to save.
Mankind would probably survive the catastrophe – the only question is how
Mankind would probably survive this catastrophe somehow. And nature doesn’t really care if, for example, a desert develops where rainforest is now growing. But life on a then much more inhospitable earth will be much more difficult for people: Clean water to drink, enough to eat and clean air to breathe would become unattainable luxuries for the majority.
30 times 30 can prevent that from happening. Protected areas counteract several causes of the loss of species and at the same time slow down climate change, because intact ecosystems filter much more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than disturbed ones.
And don’t worry: There are no plans to put a no-trespassing sign on 30 percent of the planet and lock everyone out. Nature and the creatures in many protected areas may well be used – just in such a way that they are not destroyed in the process.
30 times 30 is not a panacea, but it might work for you protection of species become what the 1.5 degree target that was decided in Paris in 2015 was for climate protection. A U-turn just before the abyss.