A Declaration on the Integrity of the Earth's Biodiversity and a Just Future for All

A Declaration on the Integrity of the Earth's Biodiversity and a Just Future for All

Chaired by Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy, the following is a leadership initiative conceived of by One Earth and the National Council for Science and the Environment.

We, the undersigned scientists representing the physical, life, social and applied sciences, call upon leaders from science, government, business and finance for the following actions which align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement, and the Convention on Biological Diversity, to protect the integrity of the Earth’s biosphere and a dignified future for all human beings on Earth.  

Each action and commitment stated here is grounded in science, a process of rigorous, creative, and unceasing inquiry and discovery by which we collectively understand and add to our knowledge of the world. Science informs us that our life-flourishing biosphere faces grave consequences should anthropogenic warming continue. 

We must marshal our collective will and dedicate ourselves to these actions: 

1. We must stay below +1.5C in global temperature.[1]

2. We must rapidly transition to renewable energy sources, achieving near-zero economy-wide emissions by 2050. This transition must be made with an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of the poor and disadvantaged and a commitment to continued opportunity for those whose livelihoods have been dependent upon the old economy.   

3. We must protect, restore, and connect 50% of the world’s lands in order to maintain the functioning of ecosystems, including terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. 

4. We must preserve and enhance the ability of forests, mangrove swamps, and saltwater marshes to draw down CO2 from the atmosphere, to protect communities from climate impacts, and to ensure the continued functioning of the world’s terrestrial carbon sinks and watersheds as the world gets warmer.

Doing so will increase our ability to feed the world’s population and improve the lives and well being of humans estimated to reach 10B by mid-century. Carbon-zero land use practices, crop-shifting, urban agriculture, and efforts to eliminate the extraordinary waste built into our current agricultural system will increase nutrition worldwide.

Environmentally appropriate and socially beneficial approaches to achieving these goals of preserving the Earth’s habitability and enhancing human rights and well-being become most easily apparent and achievable in genuine partnership between scientists, policymakers and community members.

In this work, we cannot fail.  

[1] Allowing for a short-team peak of 1.6°C.


Under the leadership of Dr. Lovejoy as Chair, the National Council for Science and the Environment and One Earth invite scientists from around the world to join this leadership effort and sign on to the Declaration.  

Details for the global launch of the Declaration are forthcoming. To stay informed, please join the Biodiversity Declaration listserv by emailing [email protected].