It has long been known that higher levels of biodiversity underpin good ecosystem health and functions and, conversely, continued biodiversity loss threatens both the biosphere and human life. Research provides evidence supporitng these facts and identifies the main cause – humans. The world’s ecosystem may undergo drastic changes and even alter to new states thanks to human development and resource depletion. This is not at all a problem a for nature – she has been thriving on our planet (and will continue to do so) for billions of years in one form or the other.
Ignoring the need to care for our environment, which creates the fundamental conditions for our survival, means that we, humans, are slowly approaching our own decline. The unwanted human impacts are still on the rise, and ecosystems are changing faster than ever. Yet, we are not prepared to face this reality. System-wide changes are necesary to alter current paradigms. We need to change the values, understanding and behaviours towards biodiversity and ecosystems, and transform institutional and policy landscapes for the benefit of biodiversity, ecosystem health and our future.
The Department of Human Dimensions of Global Change of the Global Change Research Institute (CzechGlobe) is one of 17 partners in the just starting research project Planet4B, funded under the European Horizon RIA programme, focused on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The project kick-off is about to take place on December 13-15 in Halle (Germany) under the lead of Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg.
The project acronym, Planet4B, stands for “understanding Plural values, intersectionality, Leverage points, Attitudes, Norms, behaviour and social lEarning in Transformation for Biodiversity decision making”. Planet4B aims to aquire deeper understanding of how different socio-cultural factors (e.g. norms, values, behaviours, gender, religion, ethnicity, age, etc.) intersect and are implicated in decision-making that touches upon biodiversity. Planet4B also aims to channel this understanding into effective interventions, transformative pathways and targeted recommendations for policy makers in order to halt biodiversity loss. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with civil society, policy makers or business representatives in order to reflect reality and ensure the relevance and applicability of research outcomes.
The Department of Human Dimensions of Global Change will be co-developing specific research activities over the next three years under prof. Julia Leventon’s lead. Our tasks include:
- advancing transformative methodologies and approaches to trigger behavioural and institutional change,
- understanding the role of various factors in context-specific local cases,
- initiating transformative interventions and assessing their impacts, and
- designing policy relevant transformative pathways.
This post serves as the very first newsletter, and the PLANET4B team will continue to add more information as the project develops.