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.
- 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.