UN Secretary General Guterres gives a speech at the COP15 opening ceremony.
Guterres’ language of “humanity as a weapon of mass destruction” has to be critically engaged with. | Photo: UN Biodiversity via flickr | CC BY 2.0

Stopping the Biodiversity Apocalypse: Existential Threats and Ecological Justice at COP15 in Montreal

Global biodiversity is in a deep crisis. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres spoke of a “biodiversity apocalypse” and of “humanity as a weapon of mass destruction”. The COP15 gathering in Montreal from 7-19 December is tasked with finding a new global framework for effectively protecting global biodiversity. Despite of the scale and speed of biodiversity deterioration, the language of security obscures the key aspect of ecological injustice: not all of humanity is causing environmental destruction but specific modes of economic development and the inequitable distribution of environmental benefits and burdens between Global North and South, as well as non-human nature.     


Das Handelsabkommen zwischen der EU und dem Mercosur ist heftiger Kritik ausgesetzt, unter anderem auch dem Vor-wurf, die Rodungen im Gebiet des Amazonas-Regenwalds weiter zu befördern. | Photo: Flickr, quapan. | CC BY 2.0

Am seidenen Faden: Das Freihandelsabkommen zwischen der Europäischen Union (EU) und dem Mercosur

Zwanzig Jahre lang wurde das Freihandelsabkommen zwischen der EU und dem Mercosur verhandelt, im Juni 2019 wurde eine Einigung über den Handelsteil erzielt, doch die Ratifizierung lässt auf sich warten und steht aktuell unter keinem guten Stern. Trotz breiter Kritik sind zwar noch letzte Hoffnungsschimmer ersichtlich, insgesamt weisen die aktuellen Entwicklungen jedoch in Richtung des Scheiterns.


Oil raffinery and Cristo Petrolero statue in Barrancabermeja, Santander Department. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0

Protests against new fracking projects in Colombia

A new fracking initiative has been formalized by the Colombian government in cooperation with the state enterprise Ecopetrol. The first of four exploratory projects will take place in Puerto Wilches, a small community located next to the Magdalena River, one of the largest in Colombia. Fracking has been associated with water pollution, which could lead to severe consequences for local people’s livelihoods and the region as a whole. Social and environmental activists have received death threats and have grown increasingly vulnerable since 2016. Nevertheless, protests have emerged and will likely continue, despite COVID-19 restrictions.


Humans and the environment are intrinsically connected, however currently in a profound imbalance (Photo: pxhere.com | CC0)

SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic is an Alert: Environment-Related Root Causes of Animal-Borne Diseases Need to be Addressed!

The novel infectious disease – SARS-CoV-2 – is nature’s alert to humans. Existing research on the links between animal-borne diseases, human behavior and environmental change clearly demonstrate how humans and the environment are intrinsically connected, however currently in a profound imbalance. Already 70% of “new or emerging” diseases that infect humans originate in animals. In the wake of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak and associated vast global health, security and economic damage, the environment-related underlying root causes of animal-borne diseases cannot be ignored any longer.