The interconnected relationship that holds nature together may be at risk of unravelling because of deforestation, overfishing, human development, and other human activities, a new United Nations report warns. Due to human pressures, one million species may be pushed to extinction in the next few years, with serious consequences for human beings as well as the rest of life on Earth.
“The evidence is crystal clear: Nature is in trouble. Therefore, we are in trouble,” said Sandra Díaz, one of the co-chairs of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Based on a review of about 15,000 scientific and government sources and compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries, the global report is the first comprehensive look in 15 years at the state of the planet’s biodiversity.
The authors say they found overwhelming evidence that human activities are behind nature’s decline. They ranked the major drivers of species decline as land conversion, including deforestation; overfishing; bush meat hunting and poaching; climate change; pollution; and invasive alien species.
There is no doubt we are in trouble and this planet, the only place available to us to live on, is in a big mess and getting worse. We’re the most advanced creature on the planet and we seem to be determined to destroy the planet that sustains us. The suicidal course we have adopted is totally illogical and is down to us and our behaviour.
If we continue down this chosen path we will ensure some of our children and certainly our grandchildren will experience something awful that is entirely due to the actions of their grandparents. What a legacy to leave!
A lot of the cause behind this truly atrocious set of circumstances is down to population growth and the consumer societies we have introduced. More people consuming much more from a planet that only has a finite amount of space and resources is a cancer that will if unchecked destroy us and much of the species who share this planet with us.
I was born in the early 1950s when there were 250 million Africans. I could potentially live to 2050 and by then according to UN population statistics the number of Africans will have increased to over 2.2 billion. In one lifetime the population of Africa will have grown by over 2bn. If we add in the people who inhabit the Middle East by 2050 one in every three people on the planet will come from Africa and the Middle East.
The experts tell us it is not too late for us to change our behaviour. We need to see shareholders and consumers exerting influence. How much plastic waste does Kraft/Heinz produce in a year? Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway owns 27 per cent of the company and surely, he has influence. In the UK the big pension fund managers have great influence.
I cannot begin to imagine how much packaging plastic waste a company like Unilever creates in a year and the deforestation they cause to support their insatiable demand for palm oil.
Finally, as consumers we can make choices when it comes to what we buy. Should we also be asking ourselves; do we really need to buy new products or items just to have the latest model or fashion item?