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Holos Lecture by Dr John Anderson: Biodiversity Loss and the Global Meta-Crisis

May 24 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Africa, as the heartland of the ancient Gondwana supercontinent, has a major role to play in biodiversity and its critical role in human and planetary health.

Register here for this FREE 90-minute interactive on-line Holos Lecture on Jan Smuts’ birthday Tuesday 24th May 2022 @ 6pm 18h00 London BST (GMT+1):

REGISTER HERE

How critical is the sixth extinction event for human wellbeing?

In this time of a mounting global meta-crisis it is hard to keep perspective on where best to pay attention. For many simply coping with the growing challenges of a fundamentally dysfunctional global economy is already too much. Considering the threat to biodiversity at this time might thus be difficult. This is especially true for those caught up in human conflict, and others already seriously suffering the effects of climate change and the accompanying ‘natural disasters’ of fire and flood, drought and famine.

Richard Leaky, in “The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind” (1996), warned of a looming potential sixth extinction of species on planet earth – a disastrous potential loss of biodiversity. How critical thus is biodiversity loss to the future of planetary and hence human wellbeing?

“We are nature.”

Princess Irene of the Netherlands
Princess Irene of the Netherlands, introduced the compelling notion: “We are nature.”

Some twenty years ago, with the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, Dr John Anderson’s “Towards Gondwana Alive Initiative” ran a conference on the potential role of biosphere reserves in stemming the sixth extinction of living systems. There, keynote speaker, Princess Irene of the Netherlands, introduced the compelling notion: “We are nature.”

Dr Anderson also addressed the parallel alternative “People’s Conference on Sustainable Development” and had the opportunity to meet iconic Cambridge ethologist, Dr Jane Goodall, renowned for her conservation work with gorillas.

Dr Jane Goodall
Dr Jane Goodall, renowned for her conservation work with gorillas

What these two women seem to have in common is a love for Africa.
According to the African Wildlife Foundation (AFW), from the mountain gorilla and the African elephant to the humble dung beetle, each creature is making a measurable impact on human well-being, even if that impact seems invisible. However, when observed through the lens of maintaining healthy ecosystems, the contributions of these African wildlife species become clear.

Yet, whilst it is common to think about conservation as separate from human welfare, the AFW argues that thriving wildlife species and wild lands are not a luxury, but essential for human well-being and nature-dependent livelihoods.

Slowly policymakers are beginning to recognise that false division between humans and nature that Princess Irene had already articulated 20 years ago. Instead, they acknowledge that healthy, biologically diverse ecosystems drive sustainable development and human health. As such, the current global rates of biodiversity loss put us all at risk.

In the current global meta-crisis, biodiversity loss is a critical concern

A recent UN Report in 2019 revealed that human activity is currently placing 1 million species of plants and animals at risk of extinction. About 75 percent of the land-based environment and 66 percent of the marine environment has been “significantly altered” by humans; 23 percent of the global land surface experiences reduced productivity from land degradation. As a consequence between 100s of millions of people are at a higher risk of hurricanes and floods due to coastal habitat loss. Clearly then, in the current global meta-crisis, biodiversity loss is an equally critical concern.

In our free on-line webinar on Tuesday 24th May 2022, British-born paleo-botanist, Dr John Anderson, will demonstrate the key role of biodiversity and show initiatives to stem the pending sixth extinction.

Biodiversity, Evolution, Holism & Reconciliation

Dr John Anderson
Dr John Anderson: “We are the most extraordinary of all possible species! We are capable of everything from the most insane trench warfare to the most sublime concert music.”

In an interview on creativity with Ellen Palestrant, John made a provocative statement describing humanity as the most contradictory species ever to tread this earthly planet:

“We are the most extraordinary of all possible species! We are capable of everything from the most insane trench warfare to the most sublime concert music; from blinding greed to the most selfless charity; from mindless littering to the art of Rubens and Picasso; from fouling our atmosphere and causing climate change to the science of Madame Curie and Einstein. We are capable of understanding continental drift, yet building cities on the grinding edges of continental plates.”

When asked what his thoughts were when clambering around mountains on his explorations in southern Africa he observed:

“I think of the epic story of Homo sapiens along the southern coastline of Africa over the past 200,000 years. And of the European colonization of that coast (from the early 1400s). Of the decimation of the San, of the birth of the wine industry (from 1659). I think of Charles Darwin (evolution) and Jan Smuts (holism) and Nelson Mandela (reconciliation).”

For us in the Holos-Earth Project it’s surely time to harness that creativity to enable the continuation of Charles Darwin’s evolution. By employing the insights of Jan Smuts’ holism we can strive together to bring about Nelson Mandela’s reconciliation, not only between earth’s peoples, but ultimately between people and planet.

Register here for this FREE 90-minute interactive on-line Holos Lecture on Jan Smuts’ birthday Tuesday 24th May 2022 @ 6pm 18h00 London BST (GMT+1):

REGISTER HERE

About Dr. John Anderson

Dr John Anderson
Dr John Anderson holds a BSc in exploration geology and a doctorate in paleobotany and was awarded a Professorship at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in South Africa.

John, who holds a BSc in exploration geology and a doctorate in paleobotany, was awarded a Professorship at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in South Africa.

Formerly of the South African National Botanical Institute, John Andersen assembled a team of scientists in the nineties to coordinate efforts to address the crisis of biodiversity loss under the heading “Towards Gondwana Alive – Promoting Biodiversity and Stemming the Sixth Extinction“.

This initiative was endorsed, amongst others, by luminaries such as President Nelson Mandela, UN Secretary General Kofi Anan, Prince Charles, and the Dalai Lama.

REGISTER HERE

Details

Date:
May 24
Time:
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:
Website:
https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMod-iuqzsuEtQVNZP_J7uHyI48hZlPkUeI

Venue

Online Zoom Webinar

Organiser

Holos Earth