What’s Going On Here?
A report published by the UN studying the human impact on nature, has highlighted the significant importance of biodiversity to the health of the planet, with 1 in 4 species at risk of becoming extinct within decades.
What, Yet Another Report?
Yes, but…this isn’t just another report, and is being described as ‘the most thorough planetary health check ever undertaken.’ It took 400 contributors from 50 countries, over 3 years to write the 1,500 page report from scientific and government sources.
The results (like a lot of recent studies) of the study are alarming, concluding that our current efforts need drastic improvement. The world, they say, is ‘on notice’.
In the past 50 years, the world’s population has doubled with ¾ freshwater & ⅓ land used for crops and livestock to feed the growing population.
1 in 4 species equates to nearly 1,000,000 species worldwide. Or in other words, 25% fewer types of animal in your favourite David Attenborough documentary!
Why Does Biodiversity Matter?
Whilst it may seem irrelevant to us sitting at the top of the food chain, impacts such as freshwater shortages and climate instability are already threatening human society. The effects can stem from seemingly sources, such as decreasing bee populations, but can cause a ripple effect right up the food chain.
The report also found that long term food security is at risk due to a reduction in the diversity of food crops, meaning that our food production systems will be less resilient to the impacts of climate change (which we are all too familiar with!) in the future.
Only radical change across society, politics, economics and technology will counter the negative trends expected in all scenarios. In the same way that the Extinction Rebellion protests, school climate strikes and the UK parliament’s declaration of the climate emergency have cemented climate change on the political agenda.
The authors of the report hope that the importance of global biodiversity for the health of human society will be placed firmly in the global spotlight in order to garner action from policymakers and government.
The primary causes of biodiversity loss include urbanisation, deforestation, overfishing, habitat destruction and poaching.
We can’t all expect to play a role in shaping future policy, however there are small things we can do in our daily lives to protect biodiversity.
Easy: Make your home more green & plant something
Medium: Stop eating the wildlife, cut down on meat intake.
Extra-Medium: Don’t use planes for transport!
There are also plenty of ideas to check out from the Wildlife Trust