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A new UN report urges a radical shift in the way we think about nature

February 19, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 46.6%. 2 min read.

The United Nations released a report Thursday on the health of the planet that proposes a radical shift in the way mankind thinks about it.

New York (CNN)The United Nations released a report Thursday on the health of the planet that proposes a radical shift in the way mankind thinks about it.

The report, "Making Peace with Nature," spans 168 pages and distills the latest science on climate change and mankind's "war" on the planet.

"For too long, we have been waging a senseless and suicidal war on nature," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at a news briefing Thursday presenting the report.

"We are destroying the planet, placing our own health and prosperity at risk," said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, which released the report.

While the ozone layer is slowly being restored, mankind has fallen off track to limit global warming as envisioned in the landmark Paris Agreement, the report says.

According to the report, a quarter of the world's disease burden now stems from environment-related risks, including diseases that emerge from increasing proximity to wildlife -- such as Covid-19, thought to have originated with bats -- and exposure to our own toxic waste; pollution causes some 9 million premature deaths every year, according to the report.

The report offers suggestions for everyone from governments to financial institutions to individuals, but its proposition for a new way to think about the environment and the global economy is civilizational in scale.

If mankind began to factor the value of our environment -- and the costs of its degradation to our health and security -- into economic activity, our decisions might be different, the report argues.

"Excluding the value of nature skews investment away from economic solutions that conserve and restore nature, reduce pollution, expand renewable energy and make more sustainable use of resources while also increasing prosperity and well-being. "

Several global meetings planned for this year could begin to shift mankind's perspective on nature.

"There is indeed no precedent for what we have to do, but if 2020 was a disaster, let 2021 then be the year humanity began making peace with nature and secured a fair, just and sustainable future for everyone," he said.

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