We, the privileged that live in western society can turn off the television, the internet, news and various documentaries that are trying to inform and warn us about the horrible heartbreaking devastation that our planet and its many species are facing. It’s a lot easier to forget about doing something about the problem when you come home to a warm home, ample food, and other western luxuries.
I admit that the tragedy of what is happening to our planet and the horrible extinction of our incredible species so overwhelms me that I too often turn away from the latest news. I feel overwhelmed with grief and helplessness. But feelings of sadness and helplessness are not an excuse.
“Changes in climate and extreme weather events already affect biodiversity across the globe. We are already seeing ecosystems being redrawn as species adapt, disperse or become locally extinct.
Agriculture occupies about 34% of the total land area on the planet and roughly half of the plant-habitable surface. Agricultural production is estimated to account for almost 70% of water withdrawals. Together with the rest of the food system, agriculture is responsible for 25%-30% of greenhouse-gas emissions.
While the pressures on forests vary across regions, the biggest cause of deforestation is expanding agriculture—including commercial livestock and major crops such as palm oil and soy. Mining, hydroelectricity, and other infrastructure projects are also major pressures—new roads can have a large indirect impact through opening up forests to settlers and agriculture.
Overexploitation through overfishing is the most common threat facing marine species. Recent statistics suggest that 31% of global fish stocks are overfished. Without effective management, unsustainable levels of fishing could lead to commercial extinction.” ~Source
“Earth’s population of wild vertebrates — all mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish — declined 58 percent from 1970 to 2012. (That’s up from 52 percent in the 2014 report, which spanned 1970 to 2010.) In other words, the total number of wild animals with backbones has fallen by more than half within one human lifetime.
Data shows an average annual decline of 2 percent, and “there is no sign yet that this rate will decrease,” according to the WWF report. If it doesn’t decrease soon, global wildlife populations could drop by 67 percent as early as 2020.
Researchers calculated these statistics by analyzing a total of 14,152 animal populations from 3,706 species.
The No. 1 cause of the decline is habitat loss and degradation, which is reducing nearly half of the species studied. “The principal causes of habitat loss appear to be unsustainable agriculture and logging,” the report states, “and changes to freshwater systems.” Other top threats include overexploitation (hunting and fishing as well as accidental “bycatch“), climate change, invasive species and pollution.” ~Source
There’s not much to say except that all of us can do something and yes even you make a difference in what you do to help our planet. So let’s do something, anything. Because it has to be better than nothing.