UN report: people are responsible for the massive extinction of plants and animals. One million species are threatened

Human activity can lead to the extinction of about one million species of plants and animals. At least this is what the report ordered by the United Nations says. This is not good news.

The report in question was prepared by the International Scientific and Political Platform on Biological Diversity and Functioning of Ecosystems (IPBES), which operates under the auspices of the United Nations. Its conclusion is just as short as it is brutal: never before in the history of mankind such a large number of species was threatened with extinction.

Mass extinction of species from human fault.

The analysis prepared by IPBES presents results from nearly 15 thousand. government research and reports, integrating publications on natural and social sciences, research on indigenous peoples and traditional farming communities. This is the first such extensive international assessment of biodiversity since 2005. The IPBES report was created for 3 years and has 1800 pages. 450 scientists participated in its creation. For now, we only got to know the summary of the report, prepared for politicians. The full content of the analysis will be made available in the near future.

According to scientists, the greatest threat is agricultural activity, which has the greatest impact on natural ecosystems. However, this is not the only human activity that threatens the biodiversity of our planet. The IPBES report shows that over the last 50 years, the number of people on Earth has doubled, and the volume of the world economy has quadrupled. What does it mean? In short: increased demand for food and energy.

Both of these factors exert an increasing influence on the natural environment. Researchers estimate that mankind has already transformed about 75 percent. the surface of the Earth, so that it would serve agricultural crops and extract energy resources. The result of these activities is the loss of about 85 percent. wetlands and mass deforestation of forests - since 2000, we have lost approx. 32 million hectares of tropical forests, recognized as the environment of the highest biodiversity.

Earth is becoming less and less diverse.

Human activities contributed to the disappearance of 559 out of 6,990 domesticated farm animals. Soil degradation has a similar effect on plant species. In addition to lower plant biodiversity, we are beginning to have problems with the productivity of the soil itself. Researchers estimate that by sterilizing arable land, productivity is 23%. terrestrial territory has fallen drastically. The result is losses in food production, which in some areas exceeded USD 500 billion in some areas last year.

Soil sterilization and the use of aggressive agricultural fertilizers also contribute to the massive extinction of insects, which play a key role in plant reproduction. Currently, about 1/3 of all insect species are officially recognized as endangered. The three most important factors pointed out by scientists have long been unchanged: urbanization, climate change and the use of strong pesticides in the cultivation of plants. Within the European Union, the last issue concerns mainly neonicotinoids, a group of three pesticides used in agriculture in the EU: imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

Research by the European Food Safety Authority shows that these measures are directly related to the Colony Collapse Disorder. In addition to death, these agents can also cause addiction to ... nicotine. The use of these funds was limited in 2013. Further restrictions were introduced in 2018. Poland is fortunately a glorious exception here .

The agricultural sector is also responsible for the large emission of greenhouse gases.

Methan is a byproduct of metabolism in cows. According to research commissioned by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), global animal production accounts for about 18 percent. total emission of anthropogenic greenhouse gases. 9 percent emissions are carbon dioxide, but when it comes to methane, this sector produces 37 percent. its global production.

An interesting issue is also what causes the emission itself. Contrary to popular belief, the effect of digesting food in the gut's intestines is only responsible for a few percent of total methane emissions from cattle breeding. The process of spreading slurry, i.e. a liquid mixture of animal manure used for fertilizing fields, has a much greater share in this practice.

A similar myth also applies to carbon dioxide. Again, the CO2 emissions associated with industrial animal husbandry are not just breathing. The factors such as changes in land use (forests are transformed into pastures) and its changes caused by mass cattle grazing have a much larger share. A large herd of cows can significantly accelerate the process of desertification of grasslands, which in themselves are a natural CO2 storage. The FAO estimates that the desertification process alone is responsible for annual emissions of around 100 million tons of CO2. Added to this is the production of fertilizers, animal feed, transport, as well as packaging and distribution of meat products.

The scientists' conclusions do not give too much optimism.

Our planet suffers from mass overcrowding. The growing population of our species will lead to further transformation of the planet in terms of creating places for new crops and extracting natural resources. For years, scientists have been warning that such aggressive human expansion will sooner or later end in a biological catastrophe. Not only for plants and animals. The Earth's ecosystem, as a whole, has a finite capacity.

If we continue to ignore this fact and exploit it in such an aggressive way, we will bring huge problems. To prevent this scenario, politicians would have to take quite drastic measures. And as soon as possible. And this, of course, will not translate into a positive result in the upcoming elections. That's why something tells me that the summary of the IPBES report will end with statements in the style of somehow it will be, for now there is nothing to worry about . Let me be wrong ...

UN report: people are responsible for the massive extinction of plants and animals. One million species are threatened


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