Published: Fri, November 02, 2018
Sci-tech | By Laverne Osborne

Human Consumption to Blame for Declining Wildlife Populations — WWF

Human Consumption to Blame for Declining Wildlife Populations — WWF

Ecological Footprint refers to the measure of consumption of natural resources.

The issue at the crux of biodiversity loss, the report says, is humanity's "runaway consumption", with agricultural intensification, deforestation of land for agriculture and overexploitation of certain species acting as key threats.

"Our wanton destruction of nature, coupled with the brutal chaos of climate change, is the biggest threat to humanity". WWF is collaborating with a consortium of nearly 40 universities and organisations to launch a research initiative that will explore the critical work of putting together the best ways to save the planet.

It says that South and Central America have suffered the most dramatic decline in species populations - an 89% loss compared to 1970.

In Canada, mammal populations dropped by 43 per cent, amphibian and reptile populations dropped by 34 per cent, fish populations dropped by 20 per cent, and some types of birds have lost between 43 and 69 per cent of their populations. "Economically, pollination increases the global value of crop production by $237-$577 billion per year to growers alone and keeps price down for consumers", the report says. That number, WWF warned, is expected to decline to just a 10th by 2050.

On average, there would be an average fall in the populations of species of 40%.

Air pollution 25 times higher in Faridabad
Delhi on Sunday recorded season's worst air quality at 381 which falls under the category of "very poor". Now all eyes now are on Diwali when the pollution levels will increase even further.

We are in the midst of a scary phenomenon right now being called "the Great Acceleration". But the total population of animals would not be much changed. Human wealth and GDP is also increasing. The 1950s marks an explosion in growth.

"The current rate of species extinction is 100 to 1,000 times higher than the background rate, the standard rate of extinction in Earth's history before human pressure became a prominent factor", the report said in its executive summary.

The report, released on Tuesday, paints a very grim picture of human activity on the condition of wildlife, forests, oceans, rivers and the climate.

These findings come a year after a landmark study in a PNAS characterized biodiversity loss over the preceding decades as human-caused "biological annihilation" and declared that Earth's sixth ever mass extinction event is well underway. Some of these changes have been positive, some negative, and all of them are interconnected.

"For the 2018 report, 319 new species have been added to the Living Planet Index database", Colby Loucks, deputy goal lead and senior director at the WWF Wildlife Conservation Program, told weather.com.

The report states that "Nature, underpinned by biodiversity, provides a wealth of services which form the building blocks of modern society, but both nature and biodiversity are disappearing at an alarming rate". "We may also be the last generation that can do something about it". The group is pushing for 'a target that should be equivalent to the 2 degrees target (to limit global temperature rises) of the Paris agreement, and we still have to work out what the target is, ' Lambertini said.

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