So recently I read an article on the Guardian that had the headline Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF and it got me thinking. what does it take to act? What level of destruction does it need to get to before we say OK now we step up, now we do something!
The WWF has a living planet index which categorizes the causes of wildlife declines based on the analysis of 3,430 species populations. Within this analysis it claims that 7% of all species declines are based on climate change alone – the direct impact/change of the environment in which that species is used to has ultimately changed and caused a decline in their range/ability to survive or prosper. 7% that’s utterly astounding. 37% from exploitation, 31% from habitat degradation and 13% habitat loss
It you take just the 7% loss and think of this in terms of the human population that would constitute a decline in the human race by approximately 508746999 souls. That’s a similar population as South Korea. Could you imagine? An entire country disappears. Its unfathomable, wouldn’t be allowed to happen and we as a species would step in and counter act this terrible loss.
This wake up call is intensified by the speed at which we are losing species. Yes extinction happens and if you look at the history books species have been dying out due to changes in environment, such as the decline of much of Africa’s mega-fauna when our ancestors took to eating meat, but the swift decline of the past 40 years is in my mind utterly frightening. While great inventions like the internet, green energy and cleaner cars have been made we are still facing a nightmare. While we try to put a small dent in our destructive ways, the human need to expand and develop is having a detrimental affect to the planet. Newly developed chemical fertilizers, deforestation and ultimately human expansion is taking its tool on the planet.
Who decided we have the right to this world. It wasn’t made for us, it was not put here solely to support us and yet we constantly take and consume. The environmental agency in the US estimates that in 2006 alone the American population land filled 251 million tons of trash, the averaging at 4.6 pounds a day per person. The problem we have in the world is that the needs of what we want against what we actually need are disproportionate especially in the developed world. All this waste also fundamentally needs to be managed and this in turn contributes to the negative cycle of waste and destruction. Transport for rubbish (fuel, emissions), wast management (incinerators, land-fill). It’s all just tragic circle of over consumption and greed. I hope that in the future people will wake up and in essence smell the coffee or lack of it. We all need to do our bit, so even if that is switching off the lights at night or recycle or only buying what we need at the super market (do you really need buy one get one free, double the packaging). I challenge you to go out and change just one little habit that you have. I will and I hope you do too. We need to create what we need and not decimate!