Humans are pushing one million species to the brink of extinction, and nature is declining “at rates unprecedented in human history,” according to a new report from UN.
Sir Robert Watson, the chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service (IPBES) said:
We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.
Watson added that while it is not too late to begin to change course, humans must start now at every level from local to global.
Around 75% of Earth’s terrestrial environment has been severely altered by human actions, according to the report, and in most major land habitats, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has dropped by 20% or more, mostly within the past century.
The report found that the major drivers of natural destruction are changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species.
Since 1980, greenhouse gas emissions have doubled, raising average global temperatures by at least 0.7 degrees Celsius, according to the report. As a result, climate change may become the biggest disrupter of nature in the coming decades. Even if temperature rise stops at 2 degrees Celsius, the IPBES summary posits that a majority of land species’ populations will shrink profoundly.
Achim Steiner, the director-general of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said in a statement these findings are a wake up call.
This essential report reminds each of us of the obvious truth: the present generations have the responsibility to bequeath to future generations a planet that is not irreversibly damaged by human activity.
Officials belief that there are available solutions to the problems that the report details. The question is do we have the political will to do them?