Since 1970, humanity has destroyed 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. This shocking figure was released in a WWF report.
Three-quarters of Earth’s land is affected by human activities. The destruction of natural habitats is the biggest cause of wildlife losses. The second biggest cause is killing for food. Over half of our oceans are industrially fished and 301 mammal species are being eaten into extinction.
“There is this direct link between the food system and the depletion of wildlife,” said Mike Barrett, Executive Director of Science and Conservation at WWF, “eating less meat is an essential part of reversing losses”.
Biologists believe the world has begun its sixth mass extinction (the first to have been caused by a species). The other five mass extinctions saw 75% of species disappear. Since the dawn of civilisation, we have destroyed 83% of all mammals and 50% of plants. It would take a staggering 5-7 million years for the natural world to recover if we stopped doing what we are doing immediately.
“We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff” said Barrett. “If there was a 60% decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China and Oceania. That is the scale of what we have done.”
“This is far more than just being about losing the wonders of nature, desperately sad though that is,” he said. “This is actually now jeopardising the future of people. Nature is not a ‘nice to have’ – it is our life-support system.”
The UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity will take place in 2020. Barrett has declared, “This really is the last chance. We have to get it right this time.”
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