WATCH: NCI's Prof Jane Stout addresses the Citizens Assembly on Biodiversity Loss
Natural Capital Ireland co-founder Prof Jane Stout presented at the inaugural meeting of Ireland's Citizen Assembly on Biodiversity Loss, speaking on the many crucial values of nature
What does biodiversity do for us? That was the question asked in the presentation title - but Prof Jane Stout started by pointing out that a lot of the rich diversity of earth has been here a lot longer than humans have - and although we have had a huge impact on nature in our relatively short time here, the bottom line is "it's not all about us, that diversity has evolved over millions of years, and is there despite us".
On May 13th, 2022, a cross-section of Irish society, 99 selected citizens came together in Dublin to discuss the issue of the biodiversity crisis in order to make recommendations to the Government. After an introduction by Assembly Chair Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Jane laid out the ways we depend on nature, including the deeper, less tangible value that nature has for many of us:
"Nature often has a sacred worth - it's not all about us using nature... the fact that it's there has some inspirational or moral value to us and we feel an ethical obligation to protect biodiversity..."
Jane also outlined some of "nature's contributions to people or ecosystem services" - two of the current terms used within approaches to valuing our natural systems and their stocks and flows such as the natural capital accounting approach;
These contributions include:
- biodiversity as our life-support system, necessary for shelter, water, food & medicine
- how pollinators are responsible for 70 percent of global food crops
- that studies show the health benefits of a diverse diet
- how access to nature can improve mental and physical health
- how the prevalence of diseases like Covid-19 are linked to biodiversity loss.
You can also catch these Citizens' Assembly on Biodiversity Loss presentations:
Opening speech by Professor Robert Watson [Video]
Introduction to the Biodiversity exercise, Dr Micheál Ó Cinneide [Video]
Ireland’s Land Biodiversity Dr Ferdia Marnell, NPWS [Video]
Ireland’s Marine Biodiversity Prof Tasman Crowe, UCD [Video]
‘Look at Nature Around You’ Ella McSweeney, RTE [Video]
More information available here at the Citizens' Assembly website https://citizensassembly.ie/en/assembly-on-biodiversity-loss/meetings/