Species extinction has accelerated dramatically in recent decades. Today’s extinction rate is estimated to be more than 100 times the natural evolutionary loss of species. Human-induced environmental pollution, our high demand for land, the use of pesticides and the introduction of invasive species are leading to a dramatic decline in biodiversity. Experts warn of the consequences of this catastrophe for all of humanity. Nevertheless, the extinction of species is little noticed by the public – it does not bring social movements to the streets and is hardly reflected in political debates and election programs. In the “competition of catastrophes”, silent death apparently does not come across as quite as existential as the climate crisis and not quite as acute and urgent as war and pandemic.
However, the preservation of biodiversity is crucial for functioning ecosystems, because living organisms depend on each other via food chains. Which key species are we currently losing? How dynamically is this development progressing and what can be predicted? Like climate change, species loss is a global crisis. What international agreements do we need to protect diversity? And how can national implementation succeed? What needs to change in agriculture to limit species extinction and still feed the world’s population? What are we losing not only in terms of livelihoods, but also in terms of aesthetic diversity with the disappearance of numerous animal and plant species? And how sustainable is our approach to nature, which is characterized by subjugation and exploitation logic?
Katharina Fegebank (Second Mayor of Hamburg and Senator for Science, Research, Equality and Districts) opens Hamburg Horizons 2023 at a Senate reception. Climate researcher Mojib Latif and Myriam Rapior (BUND) will discuss the central question at the start of the event series: How do we save biodiversity?