Living Planet Report | WWF Hong Kong

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The 2018 Living Planet Report sends the urgent message that we need to care – and act –for nature NOW. 

Findings from the latest biannual report show that unsustainable human activities are causing biodiversity and wildlife populations across the globe to decline at alarming rates – 60 per cent in less than a lifetime – threatening human health and well-being by disrupting the planet’s natural systems that support life on earth.

While conservation actions can play a significant part in protecting nature, the staggering decline we are seeing can only be reversed through concerted will and action and better understanding of the value of nature, our reliance on it, and each of us making better choices for using, sharing and managing natural resources. Our actions today, or lack of them, will impact our lives in the next 25 years just as we have seen over the past generation. We do not have a big window to tackle this challenge and must act now to galvanise efforts around the world.

Average abundance of 16,704 populations representing 4,005 species monitored across the globe declined by 60 per cent between 1970 and 2014. The most dramatic decline can be seen among the freshwater species (83 per cent) and across the three tropical realms. Key threats to biodiversity include habitat loss, degradation and overexploitation. For example, a third of today’s global sea catch is represented by only 10 of the 1,500 exploited species worldwide; rainforests are shrinking: nearly 20 per cent of the Amazon has disappeared in just 50 years.

  • The top threats to species are all linked to human activities.
  • In addition to driving biodiversity loss, human activities have already caused the planet to exceed four of nine Planetary Boundaries (thresholds for Earth system processes within which we can expect humanity to operate safely), including climate change.
  • Destruction of habitats and ecosystems represents a risk not just to plants and wildlife, but to humans as well. Biodiversity ensures we have fresh air, clean water, food, energy, medicines and materials, all of which are vital to our survival, well-being and prosperity: at least 70 per cent of new small-molecule drugs introduced worldwide over the past 25 years – roughly a generation – came from a natural source.
  • In recognition of the human impact on Earth systems, experts have been discussing the concept of a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.
All indicators in the LPR are unanimous in their findings: we are pushing the planet to the brink and by doing so, undermining the very living fabric that sustains us and powers our societies and economies – nature. We have a window to act and show we care, as citizens, as consumers and as individuals: starting now and leading up to super year 2020, when different global policy instruments on biodiversity loss, climate change and sustainable development converge; but it is rapidly closing.

The time to act is now.