This week, a vital report confirmed that one million species will go extinct within decades. Humans are the cause. Together, we can and must find solutions.
Chester Zoo Science Director, Simon Dowell, said:
“The IPBES Report is the most comprehensive assessment yet of evidence on the state of the living planet since 2005, drawing on 15,000 publications and valuable knowledge from indigenous people from all over the world. It highlights the extreme urgency of the environmental emergency now facing us all.
“In particular, loss of biodiversity (the variety of all life forms across the planet and their interactions) and its continued destruction by human kind is revealed as one of the biggest challenges facing our planet. This is at least as great a threat to our own survival as climate change (with which it is closely linked).
“The report highlights changes in land and sea use leading to habitat destruction as the number one cause of biodiversity loss, with around 1 million species now in imminent danger of extinction. Rainforest destruction is continuing at the rate of an area the size of three football pitches per minute. Not far behind is over exploitation of wildlife and natural resources which is also driving more species towards extinction.
“Our Chester Zoo campaigns on sustainable palm oil and illegal wildlife trade aim to combat rainforest destruction and exploitation of wildlife. Our conservation projects in the zoo and in the field are carefully designed to tackle the threats in practical ways in order to prevent extinction of species. But it is clear in the light of this report that we must work with all of our supporters and partners to redouble our efforts to reverse these damaging trends. We must also use our expertise to influence our decision makers and ensure they really take notice and act on the recommendations of this report.
“Although the evidence we are presented with is frightening and the solutions to the scale of the problem can seem daunting, the future of wildlife and our planet really does lie in our hands. There is plenty we can all do to help. The report calls for ‘transformative change’ at all levels, from the individual right up to governments and global institutions. Reducing and recycling our waste, using less energy, eating less meat, travelling on green forms of transport, and taking steps to encourage more wildlife in our gardens and green spaces are practical steps that we should all take. We can also urge our politicians and decision makers to really take notice and ensure that protection of biodiversity and sustainability are placed at the forefront of future policies on our economy and environment. After all, as the report shows very starkly, our own lives and those of future generations really do depend on it.”