We are witnessing the collapse of nature

Are we really going to let this happen on our watch?

Biodiversity is defined as the variety of life in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem. Back in 1993, the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly decided we needed an International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues, now observed on May 22. How prescient of them.

Fast forward 26 years and we are hurtling towards a collapse of the natural world, thanks to humans. The recent publication of a 1,500-page report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) outlined just how bad things are. Based on research and analyses by hundreds of experts from 50 countries, the writers found that around:

One million animal and plant species are now facing extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history – thanks to impacts that our species is perpetuating.

“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,” said the report summary. We are rapidly destroying the very environment we rely on for survival – and if we don’t instigate transformative changes, we will not survive.

You’d think this would be huge news. You’d think this would be some of the biggest news in our lifetimes. Yet according to a report by Public Citizen, we don’t seem very interested. In the first week of newspaper coverage about this dire report, 31 of the top 50 newspapers in the United States did not report, editorialize about or otherwise mention the findings in their print editions.


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