Celebrating Biodiversity for World Environment Day

Elsevier, June 2020

World Environment Day is the most renowned day for environmental action. Since 1974, it has been celebrated every year on June 5th, engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue. In 2020, the theme is biodiversity, a concern that is both urgent and existential. Recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States and Australia, to locust infestations across East Africa – and now, a global disease pandemic – demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life in which they exist. Nature is sending us a message.

To mark World Environment Day 2020, Elsevier presents a curated collection of 62 journal articles and book chapters devoted to biodiversity and humanity’s intimate interconnection with nature.

This special issue demonstrates how nature responds to some of the most pressing challenges faced by humans today. It provides us with oxygen, purifies the water we drink, ensures fertile soil, and produces the variety of foods we require to stay healthy and resist disease. It enables medical researchers to understand human physiology; and offers substance for developing medicines. It is the foundation of most industries and livelihoods. It even helps mitigate the impact of climate change by storing carbon and regulating local rainfall. Life on earth would not be possible without nature’s services. It is our greatest common good.

But with our increasing demands, humans have pushed nature beyond its limit. In the last 50 years, the human population has doubled; the global economy has almost quadrupled and global trade has increased by about ten times. It would take 1.6 Earths to meet the demands that humans make of nature each year.

As part of our SDG Impact of COVID-19 podcast series, RELX’s Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, Dr Márcia Balisciano, spoke to Dr Sam Scheiner, Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Biodiversity. As discussed during this episode, the emergence of COVID-19 has underscored the fact that, when we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life. By upsetting the delicate balance of nature, we have created ideal conditions for pathogens – including coronaviruses – to spread.

If we don’t take care of nature, we can’t take care of ourselves. It's time to work together #ForNature.

Elsevier,

One Earth, VOLUME 1, ISSUE 2, P195-201, OCTOBER 25 2019

This journal article addresses goals 15, 9, and 8 by discussing ethical, practical, and regulatory reasons why development projects applying the mitigation hierarchy should consider related social impacts.
Elsevier,

One Earth, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 1, P64-74, JANUARY 24 2020

This journal article addresses goals 14, 13, and 2 by focussing on coral reefs as vanguards for governance transformation, explaining the spatial, temporal, and political dynamics of reefs as they respond to climate change and outline a new governance paradigm applicable to all ecosystems.
Elsevier,

One Earth, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 1, P55-63, JANUARY 24, 2020

This journal article addresses goals 14 and 15 by proposing a decision-theoretical framework to better achieve components of Aichi Target 11 (expand protected areas, improve representation of conservation features, and manage protected areas better), adding summaries of current system states within our framework and recent evidence-based guidelines on allocating resources between states.
Elsevier,

One Earth, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 2, P188-196, FEBRUARY 21, 2020

This journal article addresses goal 14 by using data on 22,885 marine species and identifing 8.5 million km2 of priority areas that complement existing areas of conservation and biodiversity importance.
Elsevier,

One Earth, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 4, P380-384, APRIL 24, 2020

This journal article addresses goal 14 by discussing how ocean health is critical for human well-being but is threatened by multiple stressors.
Elsevier,

One Earth, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 2, P161-173, FEBRUARY 21, 2020

This journal article addresses goals 14, 2 and 1 by exploring progress evaluations toward SDG 14 (Life below Water) and intersecting social goals presented in submissions to the UN High-Level Political Forum.
Elsevier,

One Earth, Volume 2, Issue 5, 22 May 2020, Pages 479-486

This journal article addresses goals 14 and 15 by discussing how the terrestrial world is experiencing high rates of land conversion despite growth of the global protected area network.
Elsevier,

Biological Conservation, Volume 245, May 2020, 108580

This article addresses goals 13, 14 and 15 by investigating the extent to which respondents' moral communities align with four worldviews discussed in the environmental ethics literature: anthropocentrism, zoocentrism, biocentrism, and ecocentrism.
Elsevier,

Biological Conservation, Volume 245, May 2020, 108580

This journal article addresses goals 13, 14 and 15 by discussing how refuges and refugia are important to conservation management because of their potential to protect species from difficult-to-manage threats such as changing climate, extreme events (e.g., drought, fire) and biotic threats (e.g., disease, invasive species).
Elsevier,

Biological Conservation, Volume 246, June 2020, 108579

This journal article addresses goals 13 and 15 by estimating the current and future extinction crisis in terrestrial ecoregions caused by habitat destruction and relating this pattern to current conservation efforts.