Humans have been wreaking havoc on the environment for centuries, and though for a long time we remained ignorant to the impacts of our actions, now there is no avoiding the fact the planet is dying.
A damning new report was published by the United Nations yesterday (May 6), revealing human activity has put up to one million species of animals and plants at risk of extinction, in what would be the world’s sixth mass die-off.
The Global Assessment Index was penned by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and is the most comprehensive report of its kind.
It is expected to be presented in Paris later today, where details will be laid out about the loss of biodiversity and its threat to the human race.
According to the BBC, France’s minister for the ecological and inclusive transition, François de Rugy, compared the loss of biodiversity to the damage caused by climate change when speaking at the opening of the meeting in Paris.
The report is expected to say species are being lost at the fastest ever rate, and that without rapid action on a global, economic and political scale, the Earth may be heading towards an ecological disaster.
It will also likely point out that in destroying forests, wetlands and other wild landscapes, human activity has damaged the Earth’s ability to renew air, productive soil, and drinkable water – all of which we need to live. As a result, the well-being of current and future generations of people will be at risk.
— IPBES (@IPBES) May 7, 2019
Ahead of the report’s release, around 600 conservation campaigners from 50 different countries signed an open letter, initiated by the campaign group WWF, calling for urgent political action in light of the IPBES report.
The letter read:
There is still time to protect what is left and to start restoring nature.
But to do that, we must radically change the way we live, including how we use energy to power our societies, grow our food, and manage our waste… But for this to happen, we need decisive and ambitious action from world leaders.
The Independent report Sir Robert Watson, chairman of IPBES, commented on the findings in a paper previewing the report.
The loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is already a global and generational threat to human wellbeing.
Protecting the invaluable contributions of nature to people will be the defining challenge of decades to come. Policies, efforts and actions – at every level – will only succeed, however, when based on the best knowledge and evidence. This is what the IPBES Global Assessment provides.
It’s our fault the world is suffering; it’s up to us to fix it.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.