UN Warns We Have 10 Years to Save Earth’s Biodiversity as Mass Extinction Caused by Human Takes Hold

A current global response is insufficient; Thus, ‘Transformative changes’ are needed to restore and protect nature. Opposition from vested interests can be overcome for public good since 1,000,000 species are threatened with extinction.

According to a United Nations agency, almost a third of the Earth will need to be protected by 2030 and pollution cut by half to save our remaining wildlife, as we enter the planet’s sixth era of mass extinction.

Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely. The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide.

It is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global. Through a transformative change, nature can still be conserved, restored, and used sustainably which is also the key to meeting most other global goals.

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity released a draft plan on Monday, which sets global goals to combat the ongoing biodiversity crisis in the coming decades.

Biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people are our common heritage and humanity’s most important life-supporting ‘safety net.’ But our safety net is stretched almost to breaking point. The diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems, as well as many fundamental contributions we derive from nature, are declining fast, although we still have the means to ensure a sustainable future for people and the planet.

The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900. More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened.

The convention had set similar targets in 2010, at a summit in Japan. But the world failed to meet most of those 2020 goals — and is now facing unprecedented extinction rates, threatened ecosystems, and severe consequences for human survival.

The picture is less clear for insect species, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10% being threatened. At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century, and more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened.

The given draft plans define 20 targets for the next decade, ranging from carbon emission reduction to food sustainability. The plan will be finalized and adopted in October at a biodiversity summit in Kunming, China.

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