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By Editorial staff

Journalist


‘Huge human cost’ when nature is lost

These “devastating” losses are entirely due to human activity – from habitat degradation due to development and farming, exploitation, the introduction of invasive species, pollution, climate change and disease.


With all the human-made misery – and our inhumanity to our fellow people – which surrounds us daily, it is difficult for many to worry about the damage we are doing to the world’s animal populations.

Shockingly, though, while we humans have been fighting wars, stripping our forests and spewing carbon dioxide and toxic pollutants into the atmosphere, our animals have been paying a heavy price for coexisting with us.

The World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Living Planet Index, which has just been released, shows that wild populations of monitored animal species have plummeted nearly 70% in the past 50 years.

These “devastating” losses are entirely due to human activity – from habitat degradation due to development and farming, exploitation, the introduction of invasive species, pollution, climate change and disease.

In Africa, where 70% of livelihoods rely on nature in some form, the report showed a two-thirds fall in wildlife populations since 1970.

We’re still better off than the formerly richly diverse regions of Latin America and the Caribbean, where the animal population loss is as high as 94% in the past five decades.

It’s no comfort to know we’re slightly better, because that part of the world has a huge global influence on weather patterns.

Alice Ruhweza, Africa regional director at WWF, said the assessment showed how there was a “huge human cost” when nature is lost.

A glimmer of hope is that young people are more aware of the problems and threats than previous generations and might pressure government to protect animals and the environment.

But it is up to all of us to realise we need to look after our planet and the plants and animals which live upon it … because we are all interconnected. And, let’s face it, this planet is the only home we have or will ever likely have.

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