The Biodiversity Crisis: Environmental, Social and Economic Impacts
7 October 2014
The University of Sydney
Humans are having an extraordinary impact on the life of the planet with species extinction rates now 100-1000 times the background rate. From a largely local phenomenon of habitat-loss and over-exploitation, biodiversity decline has now become systemic, driven by our increasingly globalized economy, expanding consumerism and accelerating climatic change driven by human activities. Indeed, many scientists believe we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event in the Earth’s history, and that the impacts on biodiversity, our life support system, will accelerate over the next century. In this Sydney Ideas event, two of the country’s leading researchers on biodiversity decline will explore this critical topic from environmental and economic perspectives.
Professor Lesley Hughes from the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University and the Climate Council poses the question ‘Can Biodiversity Survive the Human Race?’. In her talk she will explore how we let things get this bad, whether we still have a chance to save the Earth, and what we can all do to avert catastrophe.
Our second speaker, Manfred Lenzen, Professor of Sustainability Research at the University of Sydney, will explore how globalization and international trade are key drivers of biodiversity decline. He will outline his research which charts how demand for consumer commodities in developed economies drives species extinction in developing countries.