Last week China controversially reinstated the trade in rhino horns. In fact, the Chinese Government decided that it is alright once again to use and trade rhino and tiger parts. Globally, there are 30,000 rhinos and 4,000 tigers in the wild. China seems to be implicitly telling the world “we need these beasts for traditional Chinese medicines more than you need them for biodiversity”.

The WWF in its Living Planet report says that wildlife populations have declined by 60% between 1970 and 2014. Biodiversity should NOT be a niche concern – the number of bees and other pollinators, for example, impacts food production. The strongmen who are being elected to power in country after country don’t care about such things. The new Brazilian President, Jair Bolsanaro, has already said that he wants to loosen regulation of the Amazon rainforest.

“This planet provides us with food, water,…minerals…worth an estimated US$125 tn per annum. Instead of preserving our greatest assets, we are squandering it…You can guess the punchline to that.”

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