World Wildlife Fund Report Reveals Staggering Extent of Human Impact on Planet

Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, report finds

Some Urgent News from the World Wildlife Fund, one of the world’s leading organizations for fighting to save what is left of the wildlife on this planet

Posted November 1st, 2018 on Niagara At Large

(A Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper’

Sue Corcoran, one of the many Niagara residents who has campaigned to save provincial significant wetlands in Thundering Waters Forest

I would like to thank Sue Corcoran, a Niagara, Ontario resident and community activist who has often been there, at public meetings and rallies, to fight for green places in our region like Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, for being the first person to draw my attention to this very important and disturbing World Wildlife Fund (WWF)report.

In a brief note to me this October 30th, Sue Corcoran said the information in this WWF report amplifies “the importance of taking a stand” to protect what is left of our forests, wetlands and other natural places in Niagara before it is too late.

Read the WWF news release for the report below, and click on the link embedded in the release to the read the report itself. Then promise yourself that you will join the ranks of people who stand up for the protection and preservation of what is left of our life-sustaining natural heritage.

Our future and that of future generations depend on it. – Doug Draper).

Now here is the World Wildlife Fund news release –

  • Populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have, on average, declined in size by 60 percent in just over 40 years.
  • The biggest drivers of current biodiversity loss are overexploitation and agriculture, both linked to continually increasing human consumption.
  • Given the interconnectivity between the health of nature, the well-being of people and the future of our planet, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) urges the global community to unite for a global deal for nature and people to reverse the trend of biodiversity loss.

Humanity and the way we feed, fuel and finance our societies and economies is pushing nature and the services that power and sustain us to the brink, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018.

The report presents a sobering picture of the impact of human activity on the world’s wildlife, forests, oceans, rivers and climate, underlining the rapidly closing window for action and the urgent need for the global community to collectively rethink and redefine how we value, protect and restore nature.

The Living Planet Report 2018 presents a comprehensive overview of the state of our natural world, through multiple indicators including the Living Planet Index (LPI), which examines trends in global wildlife abundance. Tracking 16,704 populations of 4,005 vertebrate species, the LPI finds that global populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have declined, on average, by 60 percent between 1970 and 2014, the most recent year with available data.

The top threats to species identified in the report are directly linked to human activities, including habitat loss and degradation and overexploitation of wildlife.

Waverly Beach in Fort Erie – another precious piece of Niagara’s natural heritage that is now in the cross-hairs. Thanks to unnecessary, low-density, sprawling development in our region, supported municipal politicians and a segment of the development industry, heavy on greed and low on imagination and vision, this fox and many other wildlife species are finding fewer and fewer places in our region to live. Photo courtesy of citizens fighting to save Waverly Beach in Fort Erie.

“This report sounds a warning shot across our bow. Natural systems essential to our survival – forests, oceans, and rivers – remain in decline. Wildlife around the world continue to dwindle,” said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of WWF-US. “It reminds us we need to change course. It’s time to balance our consumption with the needs of nature, and to protect the only planet that is our home.”

Over recent decades, human activity has also severely impacted the habitats and natural resources wildlife and humanity depend on, such as oceans, forests, coral reefs, wetlands and mangroves. The Earth is estimated to have lost about half of its shallow water corals in the past 30 years and 20 percent of the Amazon has disappeared in just 50 years.

“From rivers and rainforests, to mangroves and mountainsides, across the planet our work shows that wildlife abundance has declined dramatically since 1970. The statistics are scary, but all hope is not lost. We have an opportunity to design a new path forward that allows us to co-exist sustainably with the wildlife we depend upon. Our report sets out an ambitious agenda for change. We are going to need your help to achieve it,” said Prof. Ken Norris, Director of Science at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the organization responsible for providing the LPI.

The Living Planet Report 2018 also focuses on the value of nature to people’s health and that of our societies and economies. Globally, nature provides services worth around $125 trillion a year, while also helping ensure the supply of fresh air, clean water, food, energy, medicines and more.

Evidence shows that the two agendas for the environment and human development must converge if we are to build a sustainable future for all.

The Living Planet Report 2018 highlights the opportunity the global community has to protect and restore nature leading up to 2020, a critical year when leaders are expected to review the progress made on landmark multilateral pacts to solve global challenges including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

A look at the wetlands inside Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls. Our Niagara politicians need to tell the China-based investors that it is time to find another place in our region to build their proposed “Paradise” community. There is plenty of urban zoned lands in Niagara that do not risk destroying natural heritage like this.

Hope is not lost, but urgent action is needed.

Recent population increases in giant pandas, mountain gorillas and the critically endangered dolphins of the Mekong River show that sustained conservation efforts work. National-level action like the US Endangered Species Act  – which since enacted in 1973 has helped an estimated 99 percent of listed species avoid extinction – demonstrate what is possible when wildlife conservation and biodiversity are prioritized. A global deal for nature, similar to the Paris Climate Agreement, can ensure that effective conservation methods continue, and more ambitious goals are set.

WWF is calling on people, businesses and governments to mobilize and deliver on a comprehensive framework agreement for nature and people under the CBD. This can galvanize public and private action to protect and restore global biodiversity and nature and bend the curve on the devastating trends highlighted in the report.

The Living Planet Report 2018 is the twelfth edition of WWF’s biennial flagship publication. Through indicators such as the LPI, the Species Habitat Index (SHI), the IUCN Red List Index (RLI) and the Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII), as well as Planetary Boundaries and the Ecological Footprint, the report paints a singular disturbing picture: human activity is pushing the planet’s natural systems that support life on earth to the edge.

To find the report on the World Wildlife Fund website, click on – https://www.worldwildlife.org/press-releases/wwf-report-reveals-staggering-extent-of-human-impact-on-planet .

To read the full Living Plant Report, click onhttps://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1187/files/original/LPR2018_Full_Report_Spreads.pdf?1540487589 .

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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