Humans have effectively destroyed 68% of the total population of traceable wildlife on an average between 1970 and 2016, thanks to humankind’s ignorant expansionist urge, the latest report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says.
Monitored population sizes of reptiles, mammals, amphibians, birds, and fishes have declined more than 60% on an average between 1970 to 2016, according to the Living Planet Report 2020.
And if one single entity is to be blamed for the the fundamental degradation of biodiversity, it would be humanity!
The explosive growth of the human population in the past 50 years, along with ignorant consumption, urbanization, and ambitious global trade ventures, have in hindsight, squashed Earth’s vital resources which have led to a disastrous impact on biodiversity.
The drastic impoverishment of the species population signals a ‘fundamentally broken’ relationship between humans and nature the consequences of which can be ‘catastrophic’ the WWF warns in the report.
WWF is one of the largest and omnipresent wildlife conservation groups working for over half a century in 100 nations. The charity is run by over 5 million members worldwide, who are dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to save nature.
The ill-effects of human overconsumption have taken its toll on the wildlife of Latin America and the Caribbean where the average decline rate fared at a heartbreaking 94%.
“This report reminds us that we destroy the planet at our peril—because it is our home. As humanity’s footprint expands into once-wild places, we’re devastating species populations. But we’re also exacerbating climate change and increasing the risk of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19,” WWF-US President and CEO Carter Roberts said.
“We cannot shield humanity from the impacts of environmental destruction. It’s time to restore our broken relationship with nature for the benefit of species and people alike.”
Is this a sign enough?
This year alone has been (should be) an eye-opener enough to poke in the eye of humanity’s ignorance. One after the other disasters – raging wildfires, a never-before-seen virus, extreme weather, and staggering loss of population of species have staged a train of protest as if to ring the bell.
‘Are these signs enough to make us reset our relationship with nature?’ WWF asks in a video release.
According to the report, the most remarkable driver of such catastrophic loss of biodiversity is land-use change, especially in terms of conversion of native habitats into human use systems.
Mangroves, grasslands, and forests are some of the pristine habitats which are systematically converted into agricultural systems to feed the increasing the growing population, the report notes.
As of now, climate change is yet to become a significant driver of biodiversity loss, WWF says, but it will not be too long until it becomes one more important reason for the same, possibly a bigger reason.
However, despite the disastrous findings, scientists are optimistic. Modeling predicts that the extraordinary loss of nature can be still reversed and the curve can be flattened with ‘urgent and unprecedented actions.’
By transforming food production and consumption, investing in conservation, protection, and restoring nature, and undertaking aggressive movements to tackle climate change, humankind will be able to prevent the degradation of nature, the report states.
“While the trends are alarming, there is reason to remain optimistic,” says WWF Global Chief Scientist Rebecca Shaw.
“Young generations are becoming acutely aware of the link between planetary health and their own futures, and they are demanding action from our leaders. We must support them in their fight for a just and sustainable planet.”