A Million Species Are At The Brink Of Extinction, And It's All Due To Human Activity

A Million Species Are At The Brink Of Extinction, And It's All Due To Human Activity

According to this extensively researched assessment conducted by the reps of 132 countries, humans have changed the ecosystem drastically and living in it would be impossible if we don't mend our ways soon.

With the dramatic increase in the rate of human activity, the natural ecosystem is at the constant risk of serious damage. After a thorough sweep conducted by the United Nations, scientists have warned us of the dire consequences that humans would have to face if several at-risk species of animals and plants were to die. The survival of millions of creatures that are at the brink of extinction is vital to the ecosystem, and the conversion of rainforests into savannahs or the decay of coral reefs aren't helping the cause.


A 1500-page study was recently compiled by hundreds of international experts, based on thousands of studies on the decline of biodiversity and the global effect it has on human life. This study is set to be published later this year, but a summary approved by the representative of 132 countries, including the United States, was released on Monday in Paris. The reports were alarming. In light of the major land habitation by humans in the last century, the average animal and plant abundance in the area has fallen by 20 percent or more. Also, the population boom which has passed 7 billion has given rise to activities like mining, poaching, logging, and farming which has drastically changed the composition of the ecosystems at a rate "unprecedented in human history."


Global warming which has been a problem since a few decades has started revealing it's unwanted results such as the extinction of a majority of wildlife. The assessment also found that there were some birds, mammals, insects, and plants which were forced to evolve due to climate change. The Bengal tiger is one example of various other species that are being driven to the point of extinction due to the climatic conditions. Unless every country starts implementing a set of conservation programs, the loss of biodiversity will be at an accelerated rate through 2050, specifically in the tropic regions. 


Apart from listing the harmful effects, our activities have on the environment, the report also mentions the grave need to save the other species of the ecosystems for the sake of human survival. The chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Robert Watson says, "For a long time, people just thought of biodiversity as saving nature for its own sake." He further adds, "But this report makes clear the links between biodiversity and nature and things like food security and clean water in both rich and poor countries."



Previously, a report published by a group shared how America provides around $24 trillion of non-monetized benefits to humans every year. While this does allow nature to replenish its resources other activities like agriculture and mining does the opposite. With the high demand for food, the lands of rich soil are being exploited to the point of degradation. It has already decreased the world's agricultural productivity by 23 percent. The decline in the population of bees and insects that help with the process of pollination could affect the annual crop production which brings in $577 billion. 300 million people could be victims of flooding if we lose the coral reefs and mangroves which are already at risk.


The study calls for a "transformative change" without which the devastation of nature is sure to happen. Protecting individual species or setting up wildlife refugees is no longer enough. It's time to curb all the wasteful activities that lead to the degradation of land, water bodies and indirectly affect climatic conditions. Sandra M. Díaz, one of the lead authors of this study says, "It’s no longer enough to focus just on environmental policy. We need to build biodiversity considerations into trade and infrastructure decisions, the way that health or human rights are built into every aspect of social and economic decision-making."



According to the reports on dwindling species, at least 680 varieties have been erased since 1500. This also includes the Pinta giant tortoise of the Galápagos Islands and the Guam flying fox. The extinction rate now stands tens to hundreds of times higher more than it used to be in the past 10 millions of years. "If climate change were the only problem we were facing, a lot of species could probably move and adapt," says the ecologist at the University College of London, Richard Pearson. "But when populations are already small and losing genetic diversity, when natural landscapes are already fragmented, when plants and animals can’t move to find newly suitable habitats, then we have a real threat on our hands."


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