S & S In Brief: Earth Day 2019

Today, marks Earth day with a special focus this year on protecting our species. Pioneer of the environmental movement Rachel Carson  in her seminal work Silent Spring, 1962 noted 

“In nature, nothing exists alone.” The global decline of our interconnectivity to neighbouring species and eco systems is on a dangerous trajectory impacted by climate change, exploitation and habitat destruction. Extinction used to be a term we correlated to the history of dinosaurs and dodos, but now the situation is far closer to home. Here’s the reality: 

  • We are currently experiencing the largest period of species extinction in the last 60 million years, losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal rate
  • 30% of all mammal bird & amphibian species will be threatened with extinction within this century.
  • Loss of ecosystem services from 1997-2011 due to land use change cost approximately $4.3-20.2 trillion a year
  • Nearly 60% of the world’s 504 primate species are threatened with extinction & 75% of our primate species are in severe population decline.
  • 40% of the world’s bird species are in decline & 1/8 is threatened with global extinction
  • Insect populations have decreased by more than 75% in Germany over the last 28 years. (80% of wild plants rely on bees and other insects for pollination & 60% of bird species rely on insects for food)
  • Butterfly numbers have fallen by over 80% in the last 130 years.
  • Over 650,000 marine mammals are caught or seriously injured by fishing gear annually.
  • In the last 2 decades, around 75% of all toothed whale species( dolphins, porpoises, and 65% of baleen whale species (humpback, blue), and 65% of pinniped species (sea lions) have been affected through bycatch in fishing operations globally.
  • If the rate of current decline continues, 40% of all lizard species will be extinct by 2080
  • 1/5 British mammals are at risk of being lost from the countryside with the populations of hedgehogs & water voles declining by almost 70% in 20 years.

How can we solve this crisis? Head over to S & S features and have a read for the economic, political and societal solutions.

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