1 Million Walking Deadendangered speciesface extinction

And one of them might be us humans. Biodiversity dying – transformative change needed

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Nature is in trouble.


Therefore we as humans are in trouble and the window is closing to safeguard biodiversity and a healthy planet. For us and for future generations.



Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world.

The bonds that hold nature together may be at risk of unraveling from deforestation, overfishing, development, and other human activities.

Ecosystems, species, wild populations, local varieties, and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating, or vanishing. The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed.

Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival.

Scientific evidence (based on > 15,000 sources) shows: This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world.

Using nature

Terrestrial environment severely altered

Marine environment loss

Global wastewater discharged untreated

Growth of urban areas since 1992

Biomass of wild mammals has fallen by 82%

Plastic pollution affects 86% of marine turtles

25% of species are threatened with extinction

Species in danger


These are some of the species in peril. Threats like climate change, human development, and pollution are destroying their habitats and making it harder to find food and mates.

100

Billion support to agriculture harmful to the environment

100

Million hectares of agricultural expansion in the tropics (1980–2000)

300

% increase in food crop production since 1970

1000000

Species threatened with extinction, many within decades

Indirect drivers of biodiversity change


Indirect drivers underpinned by our values and behaviours which result in human activities (like fisheries, agriculture, energy, forestry, mining, tourism, etc.).
These drivers have the strongest impact on nature’s contributions to people:

5 direct drivers of biodiversity loss


Explore the five direct drivers of change in nature with the largest relative global impacts. These culprits are, in descending order:

1. Changes in land and sea use
1. Changes in land and sea use

2. Exploitation of organisms
2. Exploitation of organisms

3. Climate change
3. Climate change

4. Pollution
4. Pollution

5. Invasive alien species
5. Invasive alien species

Explore biodiversity facts


Click on a topic to read important key statistics and facts

Species, Populations and Varieties of Plants and Animals


We have approximately 8 million animal and plant species on Earth
(including 5.5 million insect species).
Up to 1 million species are threatened with extinction, many within decades.
Over 500,000 (+/-9%) of the world’s estimated 5.9 million terrestrial species have insufficient habitat for long term survival without habitat restoration.

Insect numbers down since 1990: 25%
Amphibian species threatened with extinction: 40%
Average natural ecosystems decline: 47%

Food and Agriculture


We increased food crop production since 1970 by 300%, 100 million hectares of agricultural expansion happened in the tropics from 1980 to 2000 and 23% of land areas have seen a reduction in productivity due to land degradation.

Global food crop types that rely on animal pollination: 75%
Land surface devoted to crop or livestock production: 33%
Freshwater resources devoted to livestock production 75%

Oceans and Fishing


Over 90% of the global commercial fishers accounted for by small scale fisheries and between 100 to 300 million people in coastal areas are at increased risk due to loss of coastal habitat protection.

Marine fish stocks harvested unsustainable: 33%
Illegal, unreported or unregulated fish catch: 33%
Ocean area covered by industrial fishing: 55%

Forests


We have a 7% reduction of intact forests (>500 sq. km with no human pressure) from 2000-2013 in developed and developing countries and we have lost 290 million ha (+/-6%) native forest cover from 1990-2015 due to clearing and wood harvesting.
Meanwhile over 2 billion people rely on wood fuel to meet their primary energy needs.

Agricultural expansion at the expense of forests: 50%
Increase in raw timber production: 45%
Fruit we eat coming from trees: 50%

Urbanization, Development and Socioeconomic Issues


We will have 25 million km of new paved roads by 2050, with 90% of the construction in least developed and developing countries. Over 2,500 conflicts over fossil fuels, water, food and land are currently occurring worldwide.

World population living in urban areas: 55%
Growth of urban areas since 1992: 100%
Increase in global population since 1970: 105%

Health


Approximately 4 billion people rely primarily on natural medicines and 821 million: people face food insecurity in Asia and Africa. Meanwhile, we dump 300-400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge, and other wastes from industrial facilities annually into the world’s waters.

Global population without access to clean/safe water: 40%
Cancer drugs: natural or inspired by nature: 70%
Global wastewater discharged untreated: 80%

Climate Crisis


We had 1 degree Celsius average global temperature difference in 2017 compared to pre-industrial levels, rising +/-0.2 (+/-0.1) degrees Celsius per decade. The rise in global average sea level since 1900 is 16-21 cm. Even for global warming of 1.5 to 2 degrees, the majority of terrestrial species are projected to shrink profoundly.

Indicators used by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities showing negative trends: 72%
Increase in greenhouse gas emissions since 1980: 100%
Loss of coral reefs with global warming of 2°C: 99%

Pandemics & epidemics


We will face even worse pandemics than the coronavirus unless we protect nature.
There is a single species that is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic: us humans.

Epidemics and pandemics like the Coronavirus disease 2019 could occur more frequently unless we stop rapidly destroying nature. Rampant deforestation, agricultural expansion, intensive farming, mining and infrastructure development bring us closer to catching them.

Diseases like COVID-19 are caused by microorganisms that infect our bodies – with more than 70% of all emerging diseases affecting people having originated in wildlife and domesticated animals.

Animal-to-human diseases already cause an estimated 700,000 deaths each year, and we have created a ‘perfect storm’ for the spillover of diseases from wildlife to people – the potential for future pandemics is vast.

1.7 million threats …

… could come to kill us.

Over 1.7 million unidentified viruses, known to infect humans, are estimated to exist in mammals and water birds.

Any one of these may be more disruptive and lethal than SARS-CoV-2.

This is the most dangerous time for our planet


“For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.
Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity.”
Stephen Hawking

Evidence is here and clear

No time to gamble

We are in the last minutes

Transformative change needed

Earth needs biodiversity

Act if you love biodiversity

Act now

Radical transformative change is needed to save nature’s contributions to people. Not in a year, not tomorrow, but: now!
Based on the systematic review of 15,000 scientific and government sources the evidence is clear:
There is no future for us without nature.

  • Avoid plastic & don’t litter
  • Cut emissions
  • Live & buy sustainable
  • Protect your environment
  • Maintain biodiversity
  • Engage local communities
  • Vote for politicians caring
  • Ask governments to take action

Sources:

IPBES Global Assessment report:
Based on the systematic review of about 15,000 scientific and government sources
https://ipbes.net/news/Media-Release-Global-Assessment
https://ipbes.net/global-assessment

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:
https://www.iucnredlist.org/

UN Report – Nature’s Dangerous Decline:
https://www.un.org

UN Report – Urbanization:
https://www.un.org

FAO – The State of the World’s Forests:
http://www.fao.org/publications/sofo/en/

IPCC Report – Global Warming of 1.5°C:
https://www.ippc.ch

UN Environment:
https://www.unenvironment.org/
https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/sustainable-development-goals/

World Economic Forum – Environment and Natural Resource Security:
https://www.weforum.org/

World Wildlife Fund – What is Biodiversity:
https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/what-is-biodiversity