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Thread: Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF

  1. #1
    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    Default Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF

    This is really sad and scary and seems to receive no media coverage whatsoever.


    The Guardian / By Damian Carrington
    comments_image 3 COMMENTS
    Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF
    Species across land, rivers and seas decimated as humans kill for food in unsustainable numbers and destroy habitats



    Photo Credit: Andrey Yurlov/Shutterstock
    September 29, 2014 |

    The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found.

    “If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human wellbeing.

    “We have lost one half of the animal population and knowing this is driven by human consumption, this is clearly a call to arms and we must act now,” said Mike Barratt, director of science and policy at WWF. He said more of the Earth must be protected from development and deforestation, while food and energy had to be produced sustainably.

    The steep decline of animal, fish and bird numbers was calculated by analysing 10,000 different populations, covering 3,000 species in total. This data was then, for the first time, used to create a representative “Living Planet Index” (LPI), reflecting the state of all 45,000 known vertebrates.

    “We have all heard of the FTSE 100 index, but we have missed the ultimate indicator, the falling trend of species and ecosystems in the world,” said Professor Jonathan Baillie, ZSL’s director of conservation. “If we get [our response] right, we will have a safe and sustainable way of life for the future,” he said.

    If not, he added, the overuse of resources would ultimately lead to conflicts. He said the LPI was an extremely robust indicator and had been adopted by UN’s internationally-agreed Convention on Biological Diversity as key insight into biodiversity.

    A second index in the new Living Planet report calculates humanity’s “ecological footprint”, ie the scale at which it is using up natural resources. Currently, the global population is cutting down trees faster than they regrow, catching fish faster than the oceans can restock, pumping water from rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them and emitting more climate-warming carbon dioxide than oceans and forests can absorb.

    The report concludes that today’s average global rate of consumption would need 1.5 planet Earths to sustain it. But four planets would be required to sustain US levels of consumption, or 2.5 Earths to match UK consumption levels.

    The fastest decline among the animal populations were found in freshwater ecosystems, where numbers have plummeted by 75% since 1970. “Rivers are the bottom of the system,” said Dave Tickner, WWF’s chief freshwater adviser. “Whatever happens on the land, it all ends up in the rivers.” For example, he said, tens of billions of tonnes of effluent are dumped in the Ganges in India every year.

    As well as pollution, dams and the increasing abstraction of water damage freshwater systems. There are more than 45,000 major dams – 15m or higher – around the world. “These slice rivers up into a thousand pieces,” Tickner said, preventing the healthy flow of water. While population has risen fourfold in the last century, water use has gone up sevenfold. “We are living thirstier and thirstier lives,” he said.

    But while freshwater species such as the European eel and the hellbender salamander in the US have crashed, recoveries have also been seen. Otters were near extinct in England but thanks to conservation efforts now live in every county.

    The number of animals living on the land has fallen by 40% since 1970. From forest elephants in central Africa, where poaching rates now exceed birth rates, to the Hoolock gibbon in Bangladesh and European snakes like the meadow and asp vipers, destruction of habitat has seen populations tumble. But again intensive conservation effort can turn declines around, as has happened with tigers in Nepal.

    Marine animal populations have also fallen by 40% overall, with turtles suffering in particular. Hunting, the destruction of nesting grounds and getting drowned in fishing nets have seen turtle numbers fall by 80%. Some birds have been heavily affected too. The number of grey partridges in the UK sank by 50% since 1970 due to the intensification of farming, while curlew sandpipers in Australia lost 80% of their number in the 20 years to 2005.

    The biggest declines in animal numbers have been seen in low-income, developing nations, while conservation efforts in rich nations have seen small improvements overall. But the big declines in wildlife in rich nations had already occurred long before the new report’s baseline year of 1970 – the last wolf in the UK was shot in 1680.

    Also, by importing food and other goods produced via habitat destruction in developing nations, rich nations are “outsourcing” wildlife decline to those countries, said Norris. For example, a third of all the products of deforestation such as timber, beef and soya were exported to the EU between 1990 and 2008.

    David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK said: “The scale of the destruction highlighted in this report should be a wake-up call for us all. But 2015 – when the countries of the world are due to come together to agree on a new global climate agreement, as well as a set of sustainable development goals – presents us with a unique opportunity to reverse the trends.

    “We all – politicians, businesses and people – have an interest, and a responsibility, to act to ensure we protect what we all value: a healthy future for both people and nature.”
    Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF | Alternet
    'I had to get rid of the kid. The cat was allergic.'

  2. #2
    Elite Member OrangeSlice's Avatar
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    Well that's horribly depressing.
    "Schadenfreude, hard to spell, easy to feel." ~VenusinFauxFurs

    "Scoffing is one of my main hobbies!" ~Trixie

  3. #3
    Elite Member Tiny Pixie's Avatar
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    It's a wonder people still want to have kids in such a world, I find all this terribly depressing
    HWBL and chartreuse like this.
    Fluctuat nec mergitur
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  4. #4
    Elite Member panic's Avatar
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    We suck.
    Kathie_Moffett and chartreuse like this.

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    Elite Member Kathie_Moffett's Avatar
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    And there are too fucking many of us. But nobody wants to hear that. Nobody.

    There really is a solution. That's the sad part. It would work! Not only practice a sustainable lifestyle and coexist more peaceably and reasonably with nature, but stop fucking procreating. Nobody wants to do that though, so it won't happen, and things are just going to get worse and worse.

    Yes, we suck. We're selfish fools. It IS depressing.
    ConstanceSpry and HWBL like this.
    Did you know that every time a parent gives in to their kid's whines and buys them candy at the checkout lane, a kitten gets diabetes?-Dlisted
    I dislike groups of people, but I love individuals. Every person you look at, you can see the universe in their eyes, if you're really looking.
    -George Carlin

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    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    ^^Yes, the spay and neuter solution should also apply to human overpopulation. Especially in developed countries which have the biggest negative impact on the environment. The epic drought conditions in many parts of the planet have made it obvious there isn't even enough water to sustain the current population, let alone even more down the road.
    Kathie_Moffett likes this.
    'I had to get rid of the kid. The cat was allergic.'

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    Agree 100% with everyone here.

    i'm a plant and animal person and what the human race is doing to the world just makes me so angry!

    And a big problem is that everyone in power (politicians etc) don't give a damn about the environment and the animal kingdom.. all they care about is money, ego and religion!

    Man destroys animals habitat, then consider the animals a 'pest' when the animals come looking for food and/or shelter wherever they can.

    This topic (destruction of both environment and animal kingdom) absolutely breaks my heart to the point where i struggle to breathe

    i frequently wish a virus would just wipe out the entire human race. and let Nature and the Animal Kingdom heal and just get on with their own thing.

    Humans are the worst thing to happen to this planet
    Clubber Lang likes this.

  8. #8
    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    ^^Yes, it is tragic, and I still can't believe this isn't headline news all over the media. While there are many people who are horrified and concerned about this, it seems all those in power who really could force change don't give two shits.
    'I had to get rid of the kid. The cat was allergic.'

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    Elite Member Chalet's Avatar
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    What's wrong with us? Can't we just C-I-L-L Donald Trump Jr's and the like to start with?
    Sylkyn likes this.

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    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    And yet, the fucking mosquitoes still persist.
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

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    Elite Member panic's Avatar
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    Yup, the gnats and mosquitos still thrive in spite of us. We might be in trouble if they decide to organize.

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    Elite Member JadeStar70's Avatar
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    I heard this on the radio the other day during the Neil Young interview on Howard Stern's show. The statement is just so shocking. To think that in the amount of years I have lived, that we have lost that many of our creatures in nature. Sad,...very, very sad. We are killing off our world and ourselves along with them.

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    Bronze Member Bunraku's Avatar
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    Carrying capacity of Earth:

    Because people in different parts of the world are consuming different amounts of those resources. Basically, if everyone on Earth lived like a middle-class American, consuming roughly 3.3 times the subsistence level of food and about 250 times the subsistence level of clean water, the Earth could only support about 2 billion people [source: McConeghy]. On the other hand, if everyone on the planet consumed only what he or she needed, 40 billion would be a feasible number [source: McConeghy]. As it is, the people living in developed countries are consuming so much that the other approximate 75 percent of the population is left with barely what they need to get by [source: McConeghy].


    http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/earth-carrying-capacity1.htm

    We're gon get extinct!

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