World Wildlife Fund Report Paints a Gloomy Picture of Our Planetby Opinion Express November 2, 2018 0 comments
The recent report from the World Wildlife Fund says humans would be responsible for natural and wildlife disaster on earth.
It’s now clear that nature’s economic worth has always remained invisible to humans; the role of the natural world as a capital base for the progress of a nation has been ignored. World leaders, in their attempt to kick-start a flagging economy, often forget the potential impact of their policies on natural resources. Humanity has annihilated wildlife at a rate only visible during mass extinctions — an emergency that threatens the very basis of civilisation.
‘The Living Planet Report 2018’ by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) finds that exploding human consumption is destroying the very web of life on our planet, billions of years in the making, upon which human society ultimately depends for clean air, water and almost everything else needed to live. There has been a decline of about 60 percent of the global wildlife population over the past four decades, the WWF report said. If that doesn’t scare us, and more importantly spur us into action, nothing will.
Even the wildlife species, which are left behind after this human-made mass cull, as it were, will have to struggle to survive with the onset of global warming and climate change, choked oceans and depleting forest cover. The wildlife numbers have fallen dramatically in the case of the vertebrates, as the WWF report highlighted, but it gets worse.
As a study published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ outlined, between 1976 and 2013, the number of invertebrates (such as insects, spiders and centipedes) in Puerto Rico’s primeval rainforest, where a survey was conducted, had dropped by a factor of four to eight. When measured by sticky traps, the number of invertebrates was found to have declined by a factor of 60 over the same period. These dramatic drops occurred in a protected wildlife area which, however, is subject to human expansion.
The report also states that the ‘neo-tropics’ (Central and South America) witnessed an average vertebrate population decline of 89 per cent. The WWF has listed habitat loss, climate change, pollution, invasive species and overexploitation as some of the key threats that need to be addressed in order to tackle the loss of biodiversity. All of these can be traced back to the outsize impact of insatiable consumption patterns of the human race. As Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF, rightly noted: “We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff.”
Humans are pushing nature to the brink. According to most scientists, the world has begun a sixth mass extinction and for the first time, it will be caused by a species — Homo sapiens. Given human beings’ relatively small weight on Earth in contrast to the weight of all other forms of life, so much has already been snatched away by so few. We need to decide how much of the finite resources and energy on the planet are we willing to exploit.
A global transition to carbon neutrality through green finance in order to halt or reverse loss of biodiversity and balance human consumption with the needs of nature is the need of the hour. But both political will, and an appreciation of just how bad the situation really is, are missing. Maintaining our quality of life without ensuring an environmental balance will be an utter disaster. It is unsustainable. And we know it. How about doing something about it, now?
Courtesy: The Pioneer