David Attenborough’s warning about the climate crisis. The average size of wildlife populations has plummeted more than two-thirds in less than 50 years because of deforestation and rampant overconsumption. Human activity has severely degraded three-quarters of all land and 40 percent of the Earth’s oceans, an accelerating destruction of nature that will have untold consequences on health and livelihoods.
The Living Planet Index, which tracks more than 4,000 species of vertebrates, warned that increasing deforestation and agricultural expansion were the key drivers behind a 68-percent average decline in populations between 1970 and 2016.
Compared to the millions of years that species have been living on the planet, this is all happening in the blink of an eye. More than 4,000 vertebrate species studied, those that live in freshwater suffered an 84-percent decline. Other badly affected wildlife included Eastern lowland gorillas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the African grey parrot in Ghana.
Scientists say the rapid pace of deforestation is also a major factor in the spread of zoonotic diseases – which are passed from animals to humans – including the novel coronavirus. Forests really act as buffers to keep those diseases away from humans – and the more we destroy them, the more chances there are that we are going to unleash something that can have dire impacts on humanity.
If we continue this way, the losses in wildlife would take decades to reverse, and the chances of reviving some species will be reduced. David Attenborough has urged people to “work with nature rather than against it”. He states that “Humanity has yet to discover what our new Age will mean, he states, but that it is still within our grasp to create a more stable planet if we are prepared to make “systemic shifts” in food and energy systems, ocean conservation and use of natural resources. But above all it will require a change in perspective. A change from viewing nature as something that’s optional or ‘nice to have’ to the single greatest ally we have in restoring balance to our world,”. David Attenborough
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