Is mankind doing more harm than good? Have we, the alleged “highest intelligence,” taken what was once and eden and turned it into a planet on the brink? We ask the question, but we may not like the answer.
According to WWF, the preeminent conservation group, unbridled human consumption has “decimated global wildlife, triggered a mass extinction and exhausted Earth’s capacity to accommodate humanity’s expanding appetites.” So in other words, the answer is yes, mankind has quite literally brought the planet to the brink.
How much damage have we done? To give us an idea:
According to WWF’s “Living Planet Report,” between 1970 to 2014, 60% of all animals with a backbone—fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals—were wiped out by human activity.
“The situation is really bad, and it keeps getting worse.” — WWF International director general, Marco Lambertini
“Another dataset confirmed the depth of an unfolding mass extinction event, only the sixth in the last half-billion years.
Depending on which of Earth’s lifeforms are included, the current rate of species loss is 100 to 1,000 times higher than only a few hundred years ago, when people began to alter Earth’s chemistry and crowd other creatures out of existence.
Measured by weight, or biomass, wild animals today only account for four percent of mammals on Earth, with humans (36%) and livestock (60%) making up the rest.”
Cold hard facts indicate that we’re heading toward some form of “mass extinction” event and it is squarely on mankind’s shoulder — we caused this and have no one to blame but ourselves.
“The Great Acceleration”
“We live in an age of rapid and unprecedented planetary change. Indeed, many scientists believe our ever-increasing consumption, and the resulting increased demand for energy, land and water, is driving a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. It’s the first time in the Earth’s history that a single species – Homo sapiens – has had such a powerful impact on the planet.
We are living through the Great Acceleration – a unique event in the 4.5 billion-year history of our planet – with exploding human population and economic growth driving unprecedented planetary change through the increased demand for energy, land and water. This is so great that many scientists believe we are entering a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Some of these changes have been positive, some negative, and all of them are interconnected. What is increasingly clear is that human development and wellbeing are reliant on healthy natural systems, and we cannot continue to enjoy the former without the latter.”
“… But the onslaught of hunting, shrinking habitat, pollution, illegal trade and climate change — all caused by humans — has been too much to overcome, he acknowledged. “Scientists call it the ‘great acceleration’…”
– WWF’s “Living Planet Report 2018”
Further data from the report is startling:
Did you know?
♦ Globally, nature provides services worth around US$125 trillion a year.
♦ In the 20th century, freshwater fish have had the highest extinction rate worldwide among vertebrates.
♦ Nearly 200 million people depend on coral reefs for protection against storm surge and waves.
♦ Rainforests are shrinking: almost 20% of the Amazon has disappeared in just 50 years.
♦ In the last 50 years, global average temperature has risen at 170 times the background rate.
♦ At least 70% of new small molecule drugs introduced over the past 25 years have come from a natural source.
♦ Almost 6 billion tonnes of fish and other seafood have been taken from the world’s oceans since 1950.
♦ Today, 90% of the world’s seabirds are estimated to have fragments of plastic in their stomach.
The kind of damage man has wrought against it’s own home is staggering. To say it’s a “negative” is an overwhelming understatement. Through our unbridled consumption, waste and abuse of this planet, we’re generating unfathomable negativity. Fortunately, there is a solution. We have to make every effort to conserve, protect and replenish — that means we must stop wasting, polluting, killing and eradicating. This issue isn’t a political one — it’s a scientific one. And, its one of survival. I hope more people choose survival, don’t you? What better time to start than this very week — the week we in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving.
Read the full report here and please consider sharing the report to help raise awareness of the crisis.
“He that plants trees loves others besides himself.” – Thomas Fuller