A few days ago, the United Nations published a document which indicated that historically unprecedented levels of human activity were causing dramatic changes to the variety of plant and animal life in the world. The report said that many species had become extinct over the past 50 years, and that up to one million of the remaining eight million varieties of life that account for biodiversity globally may disappear within decades.
The hard-hitting 1,500-page report, the ‘2019 Global Assessment Study’ was compiled by hundreds of international experts. Based on thousands of scientific studies it identified multiple human factors at work including the over exploitation of resources on land and in the sea, climate change, pollution, and changes in land use.
It indicated, for example, that globally 25 per cent of plant and animal species are vulnerable to extinction, and that a reduction in the diversity of cultivated crops and domesticated breeds of animals meant that farming will in future be less resilient to climate change, as well as to pests and pathogens. The report detailed how plastic pollution has increased tenfold since 1980 affecting sea life and set out how increasingly the demand for food, energy and materials is at the expense of nature’s ability to continue to provide…..