UN: Huge changes needed to keep nature, Earth OK

Humans are making Earth an increasingly unlivable planet through climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. So, the world must make dramatic changes to society, economics and daily life, a new U.N. report says. (Feb. 18)

Video Transcript

ANTONIO GUTIERRES: 2021 is a make-it-or-break-it year. We are not too late. But we need to make sure that we are able not only to create the conditions for a drastic reduction of emissions in the horizon of the next decade, making it possible to achieve the limit of 1.5 degrees. This is the year where we need to have a new framework to preserve biodiversity. And this is the year where we need to take a number of very important measures to reduce pollution. I mean, it's a make-it-or-break-it year, indeed.

I want to be clear. Without nature's help, we will not thrive or even survive. And for too long, we have been waging a senseless and suicidal war on nature. The result is three interlinked environmental crises-- climate disruption, biodiversity loss, and pollution-- that threaten our viability as a species. And they are caused by unsustainable production and consumption.

Human well-being lies in protecting the health of the planet, and it's time to reevaluate and reset our relationship with nature. And this report can help us do so.

INGER ANDERSEN: The environmental emergencies that have been outlined in the report all flow directly from humanity's overconsumption of resources, overproduction of waste, and prioritization of short-term gain with the consequences of long-term pain. But all is not lost. The report also lays out how ambitious and coordinated actions by governments, businesses, and people can restore the planet to health.