Dodo’s opening address to #IPBES5

Dear human delegates, distinguished fellow species at the brink of extinction,

[Like many others of you I have stayed inactive between the last IPBES plenary and now. This is partly because my own human medium is so unreliable that I needed to find a new one. But it is also because I was once again, as every year between 1680 and now, bewildered by the level of human activity and ignorance against its own races’ interests. Evolution is a strange thing – it allows species to thrive that are so focussed on killing its own specimen… bracket closed]

As said last time in Kuala Lumpur (way better climate for a dodo than Bonn in winter, btw), IPBES is an impressive endeavour. With the finalisation of the regional and global assessments in 2018/2019 you will know better (or better: even more precise), how you are destroying the planet, the only place of living for my fellow species and yourself. You may also get reminded on the options you have, globally speaking, in reducing that threat (I don’t see how you may be able to stop it though…).

It also remains that this knowledge gathering endeavour is impressively triggered mainly by the about 1000 volunteers that spend their time (and their institution’s resources) on it. I am not economist (the dodo god may hinder me!), but surely the amount of 14 Mio USD (btw: the UN should switch to another currency these days…) announced by the secretariat is surely a heavy underestimation taking all the networks behind the official experts into account. So again, it is a quite poor sign that IPBES still has to beg for the small amounts they need to carry out its supporting work for these experts. This is a sign of disrespect to those working pro bono.

But let me come to the thematic issues at stake at IPBES-5.

As global body, IPBES still tends to strongly overestimate the global view  in its activities. Every second speech in Bonn will somehow recognize the importance of action and knowledge needs on local to regional levels. So you need to look at your instruments in a problem- and scale-oriented manner. No global models and scenarios will help you address this, no global assessment on the SDGs will do. For making a difference, IPBES has the right elements though in its work programme – its “smaller” assessments and tools. Speaking as a dodo, my extinction could have been prevented by having by 1650:

  • An assessment of values and valuation that would have made sailors coming to Mauritius of my intrinsic (and other) values
  • An assessment on sustainable use making these sailors aware that harvesting all trees (and dodos) from a small island is not so good for the future
  • An assessment on invasive species showing that introducing pigs, rats and goats to a tropical island might not be soo clever with respect to nature and economics
  • A catalogue of policy tools and methodologies might have helped early island settlers to at least roughly plan what they do and be aware of its impacts.

Of course, having such assessments on the global scale again waters down their concreteness (and they come roughly 370 years too late for the dodo) – but they have messages – a thing made big by the new IPBES communications strategy, I’d say. So: have courage and make these assessments NOW. And fill this catalogue (with these huge number of clever ways of using nature sustainably that humans have developed) and spread its use via capacity building and local to national action (IPBES is not an excuse for inaction – every country should have its -BES).

It’s not for me, you know, but for some other species and in first place yourself (I know human race is selfish, so I partly adapt).

Especially the assessment on your own values is so crucial – there is more than economics, and IPBES seems to be one of the few places humans discuss about this openly across nations – value this discussion on your values, strengthen it and spread the word.

That’s it from the dodo, courage for your deliberations.  

Why extinct Dodos feel the blues – a Dodo Lament

My human medium keeps reading these frustrating articles and even scientific articles about the decline of so many fellow species on planet Earth. Just recently, some science guys including @IUCNscience published their recent red list analysis saying that humans keep on “overexploiting” biodiversity and destroying habitats. Well – whom do you tell – this happened to my (with love from you) about 400 years ago on Mauritius, including the introduction of some rats, pigs and goats to eat my food and eggs… 

Conservation biologists keep on publishing papers about it, but rarely have an impact – following a well known quote of human neo-liberal times: It’s not the natural science knowledge that makes the difference, it’s the economy, stupid (see also the recent post in conservationbytes). In the end it’s about changing human behaviour, not about whether you may know the population behaviour of a few of my fellow endangered friends better. Sorry – conservation scientists often tend to be late for action. Human greed is always faster.

You see, your dear Dodo is easily depressed again when writing too long texts, so somehow, I am again in a blue mode… Blues music is really THE music for the way nature might feel about humans. If glaciers could feel, they would feel blue from melting right now (well, their ice is shiny blue sometimes anyway…).

So here is my dodo lament, in blues format (inspired by a piece of human blues, I admit), updated with some more recent insights of a dodo looking at humans… 

Feel free to play it everywhere, to share my lament…

Dodo Lament

(„They only know you, when you’re dead and gone“, inspired by Jimmy Cox’s “Nobody knows you”)

Once I lived the life of the dodo, yeah!

Spend my time havin’ a good time, didn’t have much to care.

Had lots of endemic friends, on an island so fine,

Ate calvaria fruits all day, from nine to five.

Then these humans made me fall so low,

Did loose our forest, had nowhere to go.

Was competed out, by goats, pigs and rats,

And ‘overexploited’ by sailors with strange hats.

CHORUS 1

They only know you,

When you’re dead and gone,

Human development just takes the lead,

And for a dodo, there’s no place left for your feet.

You never get back on your feet again,

The scientists, they come too late, just to collect your bones – and then?

I squak: it’s strange, without any doubt,

Humans only care for you, when you’re extinct and out.

I must admit, some few humans seem to care,

Saved some of my Mauritius friends – something to hope for, I never really dared.

Today I’m an extinction icon, in logos everywhere,

But if this helps save species, who knows, and I don’t care…

CHORUS 2

They only know you,

When you’re dead and gone,

Human development just takes the lead,

And for a dodo, there’s no place left to run to.

You never get back on your claws again,

The scientists, they come too late, just to collect your bones – and then?

I squak: it’s strange, without any doubt,

Humans only care for you,….

Yes, humans only care for you…

Humans only care for you, when you’re extinct and out.

 

DodoTs – A Dodo’s Thoughts

Some reflections of an extinct dodo about the relationship between humans and their environment – necessarily subjective, as coming from a species still furious about its own extirpation, but maybe helpful for your own thoughts. Squak!

Dodopanic

Dodopanic

Until now I have only been tweeting #dodopanic through my dear human medium that lends me its fingers to speak out to the world what comes to my mind when visiting human events related to the human-environment-relationship around the world and scrolling through the digital virtual spheres of mankind, being myself a virtual ghost from extinction heaven. But sometimes, 140 human letters are not enough to make you understand the complexities I want to point to. So I convinced my human medium to use some of its spare time for more finger lending for me, starting off into blogshere (not Vogshere – yes, even dodos have read their Douglas Adams, of course, see Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – I want that time machine!).

The reason for this step is easy: the 27th ICCB congress, Montpellier, 3rd-6th of August 2015, and how all these witty, wonderfully dedicated humans broadly fail to make a major step forward in conservation of species and habitats, though they might perceive this differently.