Biodiversity 2010 was an ambitious commitment to achieve global conservation targets by the year 2010.

The United Nations named 2010 as the  International Year on Biodiversity and people and agencies around the world hosted public events and mounted conservation initiatives to mark the occasion.  Details for  Whistler are here.

Quotes to consider

The problem that confronts us is that every living system in the biosphere is in decline and the rate of decline is accelerating. There isn’t one peer-reviewed scientific article that’s been published in the last 20 years that contradicts that statement. Living systems are coral reefs. They’re our climatic stability, forest cover, the oceans themselves, aquifers, water, the conditions of the soil, biodiversity. They go on and on as they get more specific. But the fact is, there isn’t one living system that is stable or is improving. And those living systems provide the basis for all life. Paul Hawken, environmentalist and entrepreneur

The great thing about the dilemma we’re in is that we get to reimagine every single thing we do. In other words, there isn’t one single thing that we make that doesn’t require a complete remake. And so there are two ways of looking at that. One is like: Oh my gosh, what a big burden. The other way to look at it, which is the way I prefer, is: What a great time to be born! What a great time to be alive! Because this generation gets to essentially completely change this world. ­Paul Hawken

I think the most basic thing to understand about our global economic system is that it’s a subsystem. The larger system is the biosphere, and the subsystem is the economy. The problem, of course, is that our subsystem, the economy, is geared for growth; it’s all set up to grow, to expand. Whereas the parent system doesn’t grow; it remains the same size. So, as the economy grows, it displaces, it encroaches upon the biosphere, and this is the fundamental cost of economic growth. It’s what you give up when you expand. You give up what used to be there. Herman Daly, ecological economist.

There’s a more fundamental problem, and that is, as the world economy has expanded relative to the size of the earth itself, we have reached the point where economic activity often does a lot of damage. What we need to recognize is that, in many cases now, the indirect costs of the products, the goods, and the services we buy may be greater than the direct costs. ­Lester Brown, founder, Earth Policy Institute

Economists don’t include all of the things that nature does for us for nothing. Some technologies would never be able to do what nature does. For example, pollinating all of the flowering plants. What would it cost us to take carbon dioxide out of the air and put oxygen back in, which all the green things do for us for nothing? It’s possible to do a crude estimate of what it would cost us to replace nature. Well, it turns out, [one researcher] estimated it would cost us $35 trillion a year to do what nature is doing for us for nothing. Now to put that in perspective. If you had added up all of the annual economies of all the countries in the world at that time, it would come to $18 trillion. So, nature is doing twice as much service for us as the economies of the world. And in the madness of conventional economics, this is not in the equation. ­David Suzuki, geneticist and broadcaster

I think the industrial system has to be re-invented. Today the throughput of the industrial system, from mine and wellhead to finished product, ends up in a landfill or incinerator. For every truckload of product with lasting value, 32 truckloads of waste are produced. That’s mind-boggling, but it’s true. So we have a system that is a waste-making system. And clearly we cannot continue to dig up the earth and turn it to waste. ­Ray Anderson, industrial engineer and businessman

How we make things in our industrial process is a 180-degree difference from how life makes things. Look at how we make, for instance, Kevlar, which is our toughest material. We take petroleum, we heat it up to about 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, we boil it in sulfuric acid, and then we pull it out under enormous pressures. Now, imagine us making our bones or our teeth, or imagine an abalone making a shell. Abalones can’t afford to heat it up to really high temperatures or do pressures or do chemical baths, so they’ve found a different way. Now take the spider. This beautiful orb-weaver spider is basically taking flies and crickets and transforming them in water in the abdomen and what comes out is this material that’s five times stronger ounce for ounce than steel. Silently, in water, at room temp. I mean, this is master chemistry, and this is manufacturing of the future, hopefully. And there are actually people who are now trying to mimic the recipes of these organisms. Beautiful architecture and incredible manufacturing and we’re starting to learn how to mimic that. ­Janine Benyus, co-founder, the Biomimicry Guild

Quotes from (believe it or not) Vanity Fair