UN Issues Devastating Report On Rapid Extinction of Life On This Planet

Meanwhile, Ontario’s Ford Government Doing its Party to Push Extinction Along by Shredding Endangered Species Protection Rules for Friends in Development Industry

An Alarming New Report from the United Nations

“Following the adoption of this historic report, no one will be able to claim that they did not know,” Audrey Azoulay, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said. “We can no longer continue to destroy the diversity of life. This is our responsibility towards future generations.”

Posted May 6th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

World is ‘on notice’ as major UN report shows one million species face extinction

Splendid Leaf Frog, Ecuador. (19 January 2015)

A hard-hitting report into the impact of humans on nature shows that nearly one million species risk becoming extinct within decades, while current efforts to conserve the earth’s resources will likely fail without radical action, UN biodiversity experts said on Monday (May 6th).

Speaking in Paris at the launch of thGlobal Assessment study – the first such report since 2005 – UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said that its findings put the world “on notice”.

“Following the adoption of this historic report, no one will be able to claim that they did not know,” the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said. “We can no longer continue to destroy the diversity of life. This is our responsibility towards future generations.”

Highlighting the universal importance of biodiversity – the diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems – Ms. Azoulay said that protecting it “is as vital as fighting climate change”.

Presented to more than 130 government delegations for their approval at UNESCO headquarters, the report features the work of 400 experts from at least 50 countries, coordinated by the Bonn-based Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

In addition to providing exhaustive insights on the state of nature, ecosystems and how nature underpins all human activity, the study also discusses progress on key international goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The report also examines five main drivers of “unprecedented” biodiversity and ecosystem change over the past 50 years, identifying them as: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change, pollution, and invasion of alien species.

One in four species at risk of extinction

Do we really want to live in a world or leave a world to our children and grandchildren without polar bears? What will our children and grandchildren think of us if we do?

On at-risk fauna and flora, the study asserts that human activities “threaten more species now than ever before” – a finding based on the fact that around 25 per cent of species in plant and animal groups are vulnerable.

This suggests that around one million species “already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss”.

Without such measures there will be a “further acceleration” in the global rate of species extinction, which is already “at least tens to hundreds of times higher, than it has averaged over the past 10 million years”, the report states.

It notes that despite many local efforts, including by indigenous peoples and local communities, by 2016, 559 of the 6,190 domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture were extinct – around nine per cent of the total – and at least 1,000 more are threatened.

Crop security threatened long-term

In addition, many crop wild relatives that are needed for long-term food security “lack effective protection”, the report insists, while the status of wild relatives of domesticated mammals and birds “is worsening”.

At the same time, reductions in the diversity of cultivated crops, crop wild relatives and domesticated breeds mean that farming will likely be less resilient against future climate change, pests and pathogens.

“While more food, energy and materials than ever before are now being supplied to people in most places, this is increasingly at the expense of nature’s ability to provide such contributions in the future,” the report states, before adding that “the biosphere, upon which humanity as a whole depends…is declining faster than at any time in human history”.

Marine pollution ‘has increased tenfold since 1980’

On the issue of pollution, although global trends are mixed, air, water and soil pollution have continued to increase in some areas, the report insists. “Marine plastic pollution in particular has increased tenfold since 1980, affecting at least 267 species”, it says, including 86 per cent of marine turtles, 44 per cent of seabirds and 43 per cent of marine mammals.

The 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is also the first of its kind to examine and include indigenous and local knowledge, issues and priorities, IPBES said in a statement, noting that its mission is to strengthen policy-making for the sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.

“The loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is already a global and generational threat to human well-being,” insisted Sir Robert Watson, IPBES Chair. “Protecting the invaluable contributions of nature to people will be the defining challenge of decades to come. Policies, efforts and actions – at every level – will only succeed, however, when based on the best knowledge and evidence.”

A Brief Afterword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper – In Ontario, the Ford government are working together with the worst elements of the development industry to shred endangered species and other environmental protection rules so they can do business at any cost.

The people of this province have got to stop this government and this industry from trading off the future of life on this planet for short-term gain.

Niagara At Large will continue to post stories on what the Ford government is doing to gut environmental programs in Ontario in the days and weeks ahead. Stay tuned.

To read a recent story on Niagara At Large on this issue, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2019/04/19/ford-government-moving-to-wave-ontarios-endangered-species-protection-laws-for-developers/ .

To read my Earth Day message on the crisis we must address, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2019/04/22/thanks-to-us-we-are-rapidly-running-out-of-earth-days/ .

I don’t think we humans can watch this UN-produced video enough. It should be mandatory watching in every school and workplace around the world. Our politicians should be made to watch this too. To watch it now, click on the screen below –

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 http://www.niagaraatlarge.com .

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


2 responses to “UN Issues Devastating Report On Rapid Extinction of Life On This Planet

  1. Andrew Watts

    Doug, You should really do some very basic research before you burst into print. I no longer have any political party that I can vote for and totally support your attack on the Ford provincial government’s attack on environmental legislation in order to support future development.
    But where were you when the McGuinty government enacted the Green Energy Act and allowed wind and solar developers and later any developers to ignore any environmental legislation and ‘kill’ Endangered Species and ‘destroy’ their habitat in order to build wherever they could make a profit?
    The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry,(funny, it almost sounds as though they should be in the business of protecting wildlife and the environment?), are in the business of issuing Overall Benefit Permits to any developer who applies.
    Whilst I applaud your condemnation of this present PC government’s attack on environmental legislation you are being less than honest by ignoring the actual initiators of this environmental destruction, the Liberal government of McGuinty and then Wynne. They began the environmental destruction in Ontario, with 15 years of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry ‘Overall Benefit Permits’ to allow developers to ‘kill’ and ‘destroy’ Endangered Species and Species at Risk and their habitats in favour of development.
    Ford deserves every criticism you can dream up, but it was a Liberal government that actually imposed legislation that destroyed environmental protection laws that once were the envy of the world.

    A Brief Response from Doug Draper – I almost always let comments shared with Niagara At Large stand alone. However, when I am being accused of commenting in ignorance of doing any research or of not being honest, I feel compelled to reply.
    If you did your research Mr. Watt, you might discover that the end of the road for progressive environmental programs and policies in Ontario began during the government of Bob Rae in the early 1990s, continued with a frenzy of defunding and deregulation during the Mike Harris era, and continued on through the McGuinty era with a few significant exceptions that included the creation of a Greenbelt that created a firewall between development that was taking place on steroids below and on Niagara Escarpment lands and what little is left of some of the best tender fruit growing lands in this hemisphere.
    I trust that many who have followed my news and commentary on Niagara At Large and other publications, including The St. Catharines Standard, Niagara At Large and The Buffalo News, over the past few decades would know that I have never hesitated to criticize the records of all three mainstream parties as they had their turns at power.
    I am certainly not going to stop now as we watch the Ford government move toward defunding and deregulating what are left of our environmental programs in Ontario, especially at such a critical time when it is more clear than ever that a future for our children and grandchildren is literally at stake.
    Frankly, under a report we posted here on information from the United Nations that should alarm us all, I am surprised that Mr. Watt chose to use it as an ocassion to punch so low – Doug Draper


  2. Linda McKellar

    The video I saw of a starving, skeletal polar bear with its skin hanging, struggling to stand, made me physically ill. Humans need to become extinct. WE are destroying the planet. WE are a cancer. We have skewed the balance of nature. We selectively cull animals that we find inconvenient or because we want their horns to make aphrodisiacs (ridiculous), destroy their habitats and change the climate destroying their life cycles. The problem is that, in the process of causing our own extinction, we will take most life on the planet with us. Maybe a few bacteria and viruses will survive.

    This is beyond politics. This is survival. Not just ours but all life. SHAME on anyone who makes it a political debate. This should be THE primary issue worldwide. Not money and jobs. What good is a job if you’re dead? Can you eat money? Whine about a carbon tax. Whine about pipelines. Whine about everything. WE THE PEOPLE need to act. Humans have created the problem and only we can solve it.

    I have no descendants but likely care more about the future than many who do. The human race often disgusts me. Enjoy the future boys and girls. I’ll be dead.


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