One Million species face extinction due to human activity, report claims

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Various man-made activities have been affecting everyone and everything on the planet, including humans, nature, wildlife leading to declining nature at a very high rate around the world.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) revealed the 1800 page report that took three years to research and writes in the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary meeting last week (29 April – 4 May) in Paris.

The IPBES Global Assessment report explains how man-made activities have destroyed the nature on a large scale, including the forests, wetlands and other wild landscapes which vandalized the Earth’s power to revitalize air that we can breathe, productive soil and drinkable water.

The report explains that that around one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history. The Report assessment ranked the activities from most to less impactful with (1) changes in land and sea use; (2) direct exploitation of organisms; (3) climate change; (4) pollution and (5) invasive alien species.

Compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors, the report also offers a range of possible scenarios to fight against this problem and keep the planet healthy for the coming decades through transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors.

Other findings of the report:

  • Three-quarters of the land-based environment and about 66% of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human activities. On average these trends have been less severe or avoided in areas held or managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.
  • More than a third of the world’s land surface and nearly 75% of freshwater resources are now devoted to crop or livestock production.
  • The value of agricultural crop production has increased by about 300% since 1970, raw timber harvest has risen by 45% and approximately 60 billion tons of renewable and nonrenewable resources are now extracted globally every year – having nearly doubled since 1980.
  • Land degradation has reduced the productivity of 23% of the global land surface, up to US$577 billion in annual global crops are at risk from pollinator loss and 100-300 million people are at increased risk of floods and hurricanes because of loss of coastal habitats and protection.
  • In 2015, 33% of marine fish stocks were being harvested at unsustainable levels; 60% were maximally sustainably fished, with just 7% harvested at levels lower than what can be sustainably fished.
  • Urban areas have more than doubled since 1992.
  • Plastic pollution has increased tenfold since 1980, 300-400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other wastes from industrial facilities are dumped annually into the world’s waters, and fertilizers entering coastal ecosystems have produced more than 400 ocean ‘dead zones’, totalling more than 245,000 km2 (591-595) – a combined area greater than that of the United Kingdom.
  • Negative trends in nature will continue to 2050 and beyond in all of the policy scenarios explored in the Report, except those that include transformative change – due to the projected impacts of increasing land-use change, exploitation of organisms and climate change, although with significant differences between regions.

The report also notes that since 1980, the greenhouse gas emissions have doubled raising the global temperatures by 0.7 degrees Celsius and it’s expected to rise by the next decade.

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