From failures to combat global warming to pollution and the exploitation of natural resources, human activity is significantly contributing to a worldwide and “dangerous” decline in biodiversity, jeopardizing nature’s ability to benefit to people’s wellbeing, according to a major study published Friday.
“Biodiversity and nature’s contributions…are at the heart not only of our survival, but of our cultures, identities, and enjoyment of life.”
—Robert Watson, IPBES
“Biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people sound, to many people, academic and far removed from our daily lives,” noted Robert Watson, chair of the intergovernmental body that compiled the research.
“Nothing could be further from the truth—they are the bedrock of our food, clean water, and energy,” he said. “They are at the heart not only of our survival, but of our cultures, identities, and enjoyment of life.”
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) brought together more than 550 experts from all around the world for the peer-reviewed United Nations-backed assessment, which was conducted over three years. Researchers found that people in all four studied regions—the Americas, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia—are threatening the essential variability of living creatures around them.
IPBES executive secretary Anne Larigauderie warns that achieving the various goals for humanity and the planet set forth by U.N. bodies in recent years “all depend on the health and vitality of our natural environment in all its diversity and complexity.”
“Richer, more diverse ecosystems are better able to cope with disturbances—such as extreme events and the emergence of diseases,” Larigauderie explained. Diverse ecosystems not only operate as “our ‘insurance policy’ against unforeseen disasters,” but also “offer many of the best solutions to our most pressing challenges.”
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