Triple threat: biodiversity, climate, crisis | Inquirer Opinion

Triple threat: biodiversity, climate, crisis

/ 04:10 AM June 05, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call globally. It is a silent reminder that we are at a tipping point of two of the world’s greatest yet invisible enemies—climate change and biodiversity loss.

These three global challenges are interlinked, through the destructive relationship between humanity and the natural world. Researchers are suggesting a link between humanity’s destruction of biodiversity and the conditions conducive for new viruses and diseases such as COVID-19 that were once contained in the wild.


While the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis, it is not the first one to be tied back to human activities. It can be seen around the globe in different forms—from bushfires in Brazil, the United States, and Australia to locust infestations across East Africa and India.

To mobilize greater action toward the issue, this year’s World Environment Day focuses on the theme of biodiversity, and the urgent need to protect it.


Climate action and biodiversity. Climate change is a major culprit of biodiversity loss. Rampant use of fossil fuels and increased energy consumption have led to greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet. Consequently, climate patterns are fluctuating, leading to biodiversity loss and disruption of natural habitats, leaving us exposed to biological disasters.

Businesses and industries are increasingly playing their part in transitioning to a green economy. Last month, more than 155 companies across 33 countries, including Grundfos, signed a statement urging governments to align their COVID-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with the latest climate science.

Such efforts need to extend to all sectors and levels to redirect our actions to mitigate climate change and safeguard ourselves against future biological disasters.

Sustainability in innovation. Reducing our carbon footprint is the foundation of climate action movements and key to building a sustainable future. The main contributor of carbon emissions is energy consumption. Nearly every process around us consumes energy—from HVAC systems in buildings to industrial processes such as water treatment. Within these systems, pumps are responsible for 10 percent of the global electricity consumption. However, with pumps often hidden from sight, few realize the environmental potential of replacing inefficient pumps.

The digital era has equipped us with capabilities to drive significant efficiencies in our systems to combat climate change

and protect our natural environment. For instance, pump manufacturers are developing intelligent solutions that are more intuitive and interconnected, optimizing water and energy efficiency in pumps for a range of applications.

Similarly, it is critical that all players—from organizations to individuals—think innovatively and ensure that the systems and solutions they have in place are energy- and resource-efficient.


Building resilience. Reducing the impact of human activities on nature also plays a key role in maintaining our resilience during crises. For instance, water is a critical tool in our fight against COVID-19 for drinking and food production, as well as personal hygiene and medical care. However, with climate change leading to extreme weather events such as storms and droughts, water access in many areas of the world has been affected.

To ensure that we have these resources at our disposal, we need to be more conscientious in their usage. Industries can look at treating and reusing wastewater instead of taking in new water, which would help save water for the community. Such measures would also help preserve water for the survival of our biodiversity, preventing a domino effect and mitigating our susceptibility to future biological disasters.

Moving forward. We are at the tip of the iceberg, and if we do not reconsider our approach to the climate crisis, it will continue to have a knock-on effect on future epidemics and global crises. Addressing biodiversity loss, like so many other things, seems to have been shunted aside by the coronavirus outbreak. In fact, it is more important now than ever to keep it front and center.

Kim Jensen is group senior vice president and regional managing director of Grundfos Asia Pacific Region.

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TAGS: Biodiversity, Climate, coronavirus philippines, covid-19 philippines, health crisis, pandemic, Quarantine
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