The man became the cause of extinction. What to do

Due to the human impact on the environment, about a million animal and plant species are on the verge of extinction.

The man became the cause of extinction. What to do

The UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, founded by IPBES, published a report stating that about a million species of animals and plants were on the verge of extinction due to human impact on the environment.

The extinction rate of wildlife today is tens, if not hundreds of times higher than in the last ten million years, and the pace is only accelerating. Since last year, scientists have been talking about the beginning of the sixth wave of mass extinction.

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But ways to remedy the situation are known. It is primarily about combating warming and reducing all types of pollution, in particular the volume of plastic waste. It will also entail a rapid and significant improvement in the living conditions of the population.

Biodiversity collapse

65 million years ago, 75 percent of the animals inhabiting the Earth died out, most of which were dinosaurs. Previous extinctions represented 95 percent of all animals and plants.

Scientists believe that the sixth wave of mass extinction has begun on the planet , but the first, which is due to one particular species – man.

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New extinction may occur not on the scale of geological time, but in just a few decades. The extinction rate of wildlife today is tens, if not hundreds of times higher and continues to accelerate, the report says.

About a quarter of the species are endangered in most of the studied groups of animals and plants. Nearly half – 47 percent – of natural systems disappeared. The global biomass of wild mammals has decreased by 82 percent.

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Human activities that destroy biodiversity:

  • destruction and fragmentation of the natural habitat;
  • Inattention to the long-term consequences of actions that destroy the living conditions of living organisms in oceans and forests that exploit natural resources;
  • changing of the climate;
  • environmental pollution;
  • pollution of ecosystems with waste, pesticides and plastics;
  • Alien species introduction introduced by international trade.

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In 2020, China will host a conference on biodiversity. It will need to make specific commitments that will be reflected in government policy and involve economic players and civil society.

Emergency measures are needed at the political level to prevent a global environmental catastrophe, experts working on the report from 50 countries warn.

“Our report focuses on how quickly we lose biodiversity and to what extent we are able to save it in the future. If we want our children to leave the world not destroyed by man, we must act immediately,” said Professor Sir Bob Watson, IPBES chairman.

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How to save the biosphere

1. To contribute to the disappearance of natural systems on earth and in water. Three quarters of the Earth’s surface, including water, have undergone major changes due to human activity. This was, as stated in the report, the main reason for the reduction of biodiversity.

To prevent this, scientists propose that 17 percent of the land and 10 percent of the oceans be turned into a protected zone — reserves.

It is also necessary to make agriculture environmentally friendly, that is, one that is consistent with the needs of the environment.

The report says that you need to protect the indigenous peoples, who are the “guardians of nature.” Their future is threatened by mining projects and the destruction of forests.

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2. Fight overfishing and poaching.  A third of the world’s fish reserves are exploited at an excessive level, and 60 percent of the remaining number is at its maximum. The fish do not have time to reach maturity and leave offspring. It is necessary to reduce the catch of bluefin tuna, stone perch and hake.

Japan recently decided to resume commercial whaling. And in Africa, poachers continue to destroy the population of rhinos and elephants.

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3. Fight global warming. The average temperature in the world has already risen by about a degree since the beginning of the industrial era, which was a blow to the most fragile ecosystems and pushed many species to migrate to more moderate latitudes.

But not all animals could find a new home. Thus, as a result of climate change, the reef mosaic-tailed rat died out, becoming the first victim of global warming.

4. Reduce all types of pollution. Despite progress in some regions of the world, in others the pollution continues to worsen, leading to tragic consequences for nature.

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Thus, the volume of plastic waste in the oceans has increased tenfold since the 1980s, which has a dramatically negative impact on the life of many species: 86 percent of sea turtles, 44 percent of seabirds and 43 percent of marine mammals.

300-400 million tons of heavy metals, chemical solvents, and toxic waste are released into the global ocean each year, the report says.

Fertilizer emission covers 245 thousand square kilometers of coastal zones and leads to the formation of oxygen-poor areas with an excessive amount of invasive algae.

Decisions relate to changing habits (for example, reducing the use of plastic packaging) and the development of regulations and infrastructure, in particular wastewater treatment systems, waste collection and recycling.

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5. Reduce the appearance of exotic invasive species. The Louisiana crayfish, the Asian hornet and the bullfrog are among the 37 species listed in this category by the European Union.

Human activities destroyed their geographical and ecological boundaries and they set off to look for other conditions for life, displacing or destroying weaker species in the new locality.

Invasive animals are a danger to nearly a third of all endangered species and are involved in half of the known extinction cases. The number of problematic EIAs has increased by 40 percent since the 1980s.

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Aakash Molpariya
Aakash started in Nov 2018 as a writer at Revyuh.com. Since joining, as writer, he is mainly responsible for Software, Science, programming, system administration and the Technology ecosystem, but due to his versatility he is used for everything possible. He writes about topics ranging from AI to hardware to games, stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. He is a trained IT systems engineer and has studied computer science. By the way, he is enthusiastic about his own small projects in game development, hardware-handicraft, digital art, gaming and music. Email: aakash (at) revyuh (dot) com

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