The dawn of 2021 marks one of the most profound moments in time – the alignment of the hopes, dreams, hard work and commitment of passionate people around the globe to “flatten the curve” for both the COVID-19 pandemic and biodiversity conservation.
2020 will reverberate through history for many reasons, not least as the year when planetary health and human health collided on a terrifying scale. A key concept in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to “flatten the curve” through modified behaviour in order to slow infection rates and avert a global health crisis. At the same time, the current rampant scale and loss of biodiversity – fuelled by mankind’s unsustainable production and consumption patterns – requires similarly urgent intervention. Flattening the curve for climate and ecosystem health by allowing ecological systems, species and mankind the time and space to slow down, adapt and develop coping strategies is now more urgent than ever.
To avoid even further catastrophic ecosystem collapse, the time has come to act collectively, with urgency and on a global scale to ensure that we put the brakes on the environmental destruction of our planet.
Nation-states and international leaders are working tirelessly towards new biodiversity and climate commitments – guiding urgent action and wide-scale restoration over the next 10 years. We are at a turning point that, if embraced on a suitably large scale, will ensure the survival of the world’s most vulnerable species – as well as our own.
Africa provides an important regional perspective of the global environmental imperative. Its vast wilderness areas and abundant wildlife bring the reality of the situation into sharp focus, highlighting the alarming biodiversity loss which is placing us on the brink of a sixth mass extinction.
The continent represents the epicentre of the conservation crisis in many ways – including the ongoing war on poaching, the cumulative effects of explosive population growth and human-wildlife conflict, as well as the warning signs of a coming environmental catastrophe – such as dangerous temperature increases and extreme weather events.
At the same time, Africa is also a source of inspiration and hope, with leading conservation and ecotourism brands focusing their efforts on achieving the key global goals that will drive action in the coming decade.
Singita has been helping to preserve Africa’s wildlife and wilderness for the past 27 years and our non-profit Funds & Trusts implement strategic conservation projects in each of the regions in which we operate. This critical conservation work is aimed at restoring, enhancing and protecting the biodiversity of the ecosystems where we operate.
Our purpose is fully aligned with the four global conservation goals: we are steadfast in our commitment to protect unique ecosystems; to help recover critically endangered species and ensure no further extinction; to benefit neighbouring communities under our care; and to contribute positively to the reduction of GHG emissions through our climate commitments.
In line with the global conservation goals, and as we emerge from the pandemic, the world of tourism and travel would be changed forever. There will be a growing need for guest experiences that contribute positively towards climate commitments, biodiversity protection and sustainability. At Singita, we see these as central components to doing business. We believe that tourism can be a significant force for good and that is why our conservation commitment is supported by a low-impact, high-value nature-based tourism model, coupled with a minimal environmental footprint.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
It is imperative to not miss a beat in the battle to protect endangered species and restore key habitats. We need to safeguard these landscapes and their wildlife populations, while continuing to expand our operations and our impact. The work of our conservation partners, all of whom share our passion and love for this remarkable continent, drives Singita’s 100-year vision to preserve and protect vast areas of African wilderness for future generations. Find out more about these projects and how you can contribute towards their continued success here: How the Global Health Crisis Threatens Decades of Conservation Work in Africa »