Climate Change

Human actions have made a huge mess of natural world

Even though this biodiversity crisis is humanity’s fault, there is still time to save the Earth if governments, companies and individuals take action, analyses Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

 
Last Updated: Wednesday 08 May 2019

The United Nations has, for the first time, done a comprehensive assessment of the world’s biodiversity.  The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services was released on May 6, 2019, in Paris. The team comprised of 450 researchers, who prepared a 1,000-page report after studying 15,000 scientific and government documents, and was unanimously approved by 100 countries

The report basically says we have made a huge mess of our natural world. According to the report, there are five direct drivers that have changed our natural ecosystem. Land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasion of alien species.

In the past 50 years, the human population has doubled and the global economy has quadrupled. This has increased the demand for energy and material leading to massive exploitation and excessive pollution.

Excessive needs of human beings have led to the destruction of 85 per cent of wetlands and have adversely impacted 66 per cent of the ocean area. Around 75 per cent of the land surface has also been altered to cater to our growing needs. Climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Fires, floods and droughts have increased in the past 50 years and half of the world’s land mammals and nearly a quarter of the birds have already had their habitats altered by global warming.

Every year, 300 to 400 million tonnes of heavy metals, solvents and toxic sludge pollute the global oceans and seas making marine pollution one of the major threats of the century. This directly affects at least 267 species and, in turn, affects humans through the food chain.

Scientists say nature is in more trouble now than at any time in human history. Extinction is looming in the face for over a million species of plants and animals.

Even though this biodiversity crisis is humanity’s fault, there is still time to save the Earth if governments, companies and individuals take action, says the report.

We can still stop the environmental catastrophe by changing the way we grow food, produce energy and deal with climate change and dispose of waste.

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