The planet's biodiversity is under threat and humans are mostly to blame. Biodiversity is essential for supporting life on Earth. Without a wide range of animals, plants and microorganisms, we cannot have the healthy ecosystems that provide us with the air we breathe and the food we eat.
However, we are failing to meet all the targets set for slowing down biodiversity loss.
A recent WWF report found that the population sizes of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians have experienced a decline of an average of 68% between 1970 and 2016.
This loss is due to a variety of factors-pollution, destruction of habitats, invasive species, etc-but mainly land-use change, particularly the conversion of habitats, like forests, grasslands and mangroves, into agricultural systems.
A recent analysis has found that the sixth mass extinction of wildlife on Earth is accelerating. More than 500 species of land animals are on the brink of extinction and are likely to be lost within 20 years; the same number were lost over the whole of the last century. The scientists say that without the human destruction of nature, this rate of loss would have taken thousands of years but is accelerating at an alarming rate(Earth.org).
According to the fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook report(published in September 2020 by IPBES), “we should be warned of the alarming degradation of nature because they point to it as a variable that increases the risk of future pandemics”.
This is mostly due to the crucial role that a healthy ecosystem plays in human health. If species are lost, we won’t have the resources we need to protect ourselves.
If the reduction of biodiversity continues, we will be dealing with a global health crisis!