A new comprehensive report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) states that over one million species are facing extinction due to human interference.
The IPBES is a UN committee that does comprehensive reports with experts from around the world. In the past, the committee has done a lot of work highlighting the risks of climate change.
This report clearly links human activity to extinction around the world.
What Are Humans Doing To Cause This
The report highlights the five main driving forces that have led to this outcome. They include land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species.
Let’s take a quick look at these factors.
Land And Sea Use
Since the beginning of society, humans have torn down forests and built towns and cities. Humanity has also committed millions of acres to farmland and farm animals. Almost no place on Earth has escaped human influence.
This has only gotten worse as technology advances. Since the pre-industrial age, 75% of the Earth’s lands have been altered by humans and 66% of marine environments have also been affected.
Direct Exploitation of Organisms
Without a doubt, humans are on top of the food chain. We exploit thousands of species, including animals, insects, fish and plants to feed our population. Over the years, it has had terrible consequences.
For example, fish populations are shrinking for many reasons. One of the main focus is over fishing. Humans have been fishing at an unsustainable rate for decades, and it is getting harder to deny.
Almost every day, there is a new study that links some type of human activity with climate change. Climate change is the most likely end to life as we know it. The global temperature is rising and the species that inhabit this world cannot handle the adjustment.
Greenhouse gases enter our planet’s atmosphere every day. The effects of climate change worsen every year, and as a result, more species are put at risk. Eventually, even humanity will be directly threatened more so than we are now.
We consume a lot of products and both the creation and disposal of these products are harming our planet’s species. For example, cement is the building block of the modern world. However, it is also a huge carbon dioxide emitter.
Another example is plastics. We use plastics for almost everything and a large portion of it ends up in the oceans. If you are looking for proof, look no further than the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Invasive Alien Species
Every ecosystem has a food chain, and when a new species enters, things can get messy. An invasive species is one that is not native to the area. While these species may have a natural predator in their own ecosystem, that isn’t the case in others.
For this reason, it is common for these invasive species to dominate their new ecosystem and destroy it.
Changes Can Still Be Made
While this report is full of eye-opening revelations, it’s not all doom and gloom. We can still protect these species and make the necessary changes to our society. However, the changes need to start now and they need to address a myriad of issues around the world.