Start thinking about implementation – Dodo’s opening address to #IPBES4

Distinguished delegates, humans,

it is my pleasure to address you (virtually) on behalf of the human-activity caused extinct species of the Earth once again. Unfortunately, my closing speech to #IPBES3 came rather late due to flight problems, but this time I should be in time (which is quite a challenge for a species being extinction for about 333 years).

IPBES is an impressive endeavour. The reports and activities produced so far show the ambition and potential of human brains to understand their environment and find ways to cope with it sustainably. Yet, of course you also produce many counterproductive activities that hinder these (I know. “it’s the economy stupid”, but there are other ways than the economic mainstream). But the collaboration in IPBES (so far) is a positive sign, and I am impressed by those humans who are willing to put so much of their time in this. It will be interesting to see how the private sector will take such a platform serious and allow discussions on a level playing field for all.

At the same time, IPBES is frustrating endeavour. A huge work programme of a dozen assessments and many more deliverables is funded by a poor sum of 40 Mio Dollars, with nearly 10 Mio still missing from the pot. Are you nuts? These sums are peanuts! This is all about your livelihoods for now and in the future! Just spend a tiny little less on military – or just eradicate the environmental harmful subsidies – you promised to phase them out by 2020 anyway, according to your CBD targets. Or, or, or… many options to at least triple this sum. If IPBES gets the message across that its reports tell that safeguarding nature will profit everyone, the support shouldn’t be a problem (well, I am a naïve extinct bird, as you know…).

Oh, and yes: the private sector could also give a share of those profits they get from destroying nature and the habitats of my fellow animal species – another source for a huge boost in funding. Thus, you could also adequately value the work of the experts involved.

The stakeholder days this weekend have impressively shown that there is only one way forward to come to a joint living model between a growing human population and nature: cooperation between humans. IPBES stakeholders are willing, yet based on quite different values (like the member states). Talking about these values as well is thus crucial for joint understanding and mutual learning. So, finally starting the assessment on diverse conceptualisations of values and valuation should be a priority to IPBES members. It will further open your eyes that economic views can help (nature acts economically itself, somehow…) but other values are equally valid. As often stated the Conceptual Framework of IPBES is a good starting point, yet surely not a Rosetta stone (not sure if things fixed in stone are the right picture anyway when it comes to the living world).

In the end, IPBES will be pit against its achievements to support changes on the ground – the stakeholders again will be crucial here – and the way your results are communicated. Going back home being happy that another week of deliberations is over will not do it – every member needs to think about amplifying results in your own country and below. And for that, another 40 Mio Dollars of investments will not even be half a peanut.

I thank you for your attention.



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.


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…


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.