The EU Green Week 2020 – An important opportunity to rethink our relationship with nature

From 19-22 October, the 2020 EU Green Week will bring political leaders, environmental organisations and many other stakeholders together to discuss the important relationship between nature and biodiversity. The event will highlight the contribution biodiversity can make to society and the economy, and the role it can play in supporting and stimulating recovery in a post-pandemic world. 

Why nature and biodiversity, and why now?

In 2019, reports from the FAO and IPBES found in an unprecedented collection of evidence that while the value of agricultural crop production has increased approximately threefold since 1970, global ecosystems and biodiversity have suffered the fastest decline in human history, indicating that gains in material contributions are often not sustainable. Land-and sea use change, overexploitation of animals, plants and organisms as well as climate change, pollution and invasive alien species are the direct drivers of this decline. Land degradation has reduced productivity in 23 percent of the global terrestrial area, 75 percent of the land surface is significantly altered, 66 percent of the ocean area is experiencing increasing cumulative impacts, and over 85 percent of wetlands (area) has been lost. In addition, around 25 percent of species in assessed animal and plant groups are threatened, suggesting that around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades. Ironically, these alarming impacts caused by agriculture, forestry, and urbanization put food security and nutrition at risk.  

The EU Green week is an opportunity to rethink our relationship with nature and to evaluate the impact of human behavior as individuals, businesses and nations on local and global ecosystems, economy and society. It encourages the much-needed transformational change needed to halt the loss of biodiversity and the broader ecological crisis. The event will also examine what role EU policies such as the European Green Deal play in this change and how they can help protect and restore nature, leaving it room to recover and thrive.

As agriculture is one of the primary drivers of loss of biodiversity, it seems only natural that the Cool Farm Alliance has extended the metrics of its Cool Farm Tool to not only assess the impact of agricultural practices on GHG emissions and water, but also on biodiversity. In the framework of the University of Cambridge Conservation Evidence project and in collaboration with international panels of biodiversity experts, a scoring system has been established that awards wildlife-friendly actions in four areas: diversity of products, production practices, small natural habitats and larger natural areas and landscapes. The biodiversity metric of the Cool Farm Tool, which is free for farmers and individuals, helps:

  1. Communicate the positive impacts of supporting biodiversity
  2. See which species groups are benefiting with a biodiversity assessment that provides scores along four dimensions and eleven species groups
  3. Give credit where credit is due
  4. Employ a wide range of management practices
  5. Quantify baseline impacts and measure and track improvements over time
  6. Turn complexity into a series of multiple-choice questions that are evidence-based

Following the successful development for farms in the Temperate Forest biome, the initiative is also being expanded to cover Mediterranean and Semi-Arid as well as  Tropical Forest biomes.

With this and many other projects, the Cool Farm Alliance will continue to promote the restoration of ecological balance and seek collaboration to do so. If you want to know how you can initiate a transformative change towards a sustainable future, participate in the EU Green week 4-day event: