Our work is shaped by our core values and our effectiveness is driven by our credibility, internally and externally, across our work content and the processes and practices we employ to develop and deliver same. 

Personal Accountability and Responsibility to Act

WHI believes that all people (as individuals, within businesses or governments, or within other groups or associations) have a life-long responsibility to continually act locally, to deliver the necessary outcomes to support a healthy global socio-economic environment now, and for all future generations.

Independence

WHI speaks truth to power.  We ensure our independence from political or commercial interests by refusing funding from political, business or government sources.

Humans are Driving the Current Holocene (AKA Anthropocene) Extinction of Biodiversity on Our Planet

The health of biodiversity on our planet is increasingly under threat by anthropogenic practices that are driving the Holocene or AKA Anthropocene extinction[1]. This is the name for the ongoing, and rising, extinction of species during the present Holoceneepoch (approximately starting 10000BCE).  This sixth mass extinction of flora and fauna in the past 500 million years is delivering the worst rate of species extinctions since the dinosaurs,  65 million years ago. While species extinctions are a natural phenomenon, at a natural “background” rate of approximately one to five species per year, current estimates indicate species extinctions at 1,000 to 10,000 times this background rate, with as many as 50 percent of all species under threat of extinction by mid-century.


While past mass extinctions have been caused by multiple events, including asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions, and natural climate shifts, the current Sixth extinction is driven by human practices. Up to this point, human societies have too frequently valued only short-term economic benefits, rather than holistically assessing the longer-term effects and ‘internalising’ these socio-economic environmental costs within a more accurate overall cost / benefit analysis.

 

If we are to try to effectively abate and mitigate the scale of this Sixth extinction, we must, in detail, accurately understand the threats to biodiversity, where they occur and how quickly change is happening. This assessment is not effective without ongoing credible and publicly accessible data. Yet currently, most industrial scale practices across the world are implemented without sufficient credible, detailed and publicly accessible information. We have initiated the Sixth mass extinction by acting without sufficiently credible, publicly available, current, ongoing, appropriately granualised information that has been validated for accuracy.

 

The aggregate of our global practices are driving this Sixth mass extinction with insufficient understanding to assess - outside of short-term economic benefits identified by ‘externalising’ the true long-term costs. Too often, decision-makers (including governments, companies and consumers) have chosen environmentally compromising consumer society models that result in the mass biodiversity losses of mass species extinctions via anthropogenic habitat degradation. If decision-makers act without the information necessary within an holistic approach, he current biodiversity crisis will grow to a devastating and irreversible scale.  To date, these short-sighted economically driven decisions have been implemented without fact-based scientific evidence supporting these practices. The well-being of our, and all, species depends upon no longer accepting a short-sighted global decision-making system that perversely prioritises short-term economic benefit above long-term irreversible socio-economic environmental harm.  This ‘laissez-faire’ paradigm of trying to stop destructive practices only - after - many years or decades of destructive outcomes is the result of decision-making outside of the ‘precautionary principle’ approach.

 

The Precautionary Principle and a Moratoria on Current Destructive Practices

 

This is why WHI believes it is important for the ongoing application of the precautionary principle integrated across cost / benefit analyses. In the interim until credible detailed ongoing information is publicly accessible, destructive practices driving biodiversity degradation must be stopped via moratoria. This means taking full preventive action – as necessary - before waiting for conclusive scientific proof regarding cause and effect between the practice substance  and the damage. It is based on the reasonable, and necessary, assumption that some destructive practices cannot be rendered acceptable and sufficiently ‘harmless’  by the receiving environment (e.g. without credible detailed ongoing  publicly accessible scientific evidence supporting a practice can be implemented without biodiversity degradation,  there are no ‘environmentally acceptable’/ ’safe’ level of the practice in question) and that prevention of potentially serious or irreversible damage is required, even in the absence of full scientific evidence proving ‘cause and effect’ harm.  The process of applying the Precautionary Principle must involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including, where necessary, practice substitution through the development of sustainable alternatives where they do not already exist.

 

[1]  Also referred to as the ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’