Campaigners urge humans to ‘protect our species’

World Today

Turtles bask in the sun at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2019. The preserve is part of the marsh system along the Anacostia River a few miles from the Capitol. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

It’s World Earth Day.  And CGTN Gerald Tan has coverage of some of the most pressing environmental issues affecting our planet.

World Earth Day seeks to remind us that humans are responsible for much of the destruction of our planet.

The theme this year is “Protect our Species.”  And these have been singled out as particularly vulnerable.

Insects: more than 40 percent of all species are declining, mostly due to climate change and habitat loss. Insects are a food source for birds and small mammals.  And they pollinate some 75 percent of crops worldwide.

One of the most indispensable pollinators: bees. Colonies are disappearing at a rate of at least 30 percent each year. Ecologists are alarmed and warn that we simply cannot survive without bees.Bees are on land what corals are at sea. 

More than 25 percent of all marine life survive on coral reefs, but ocean heat waves are causing corals to stop reproducing. These bleaching events are detrimental to ocean biodiversity. 

Whales are the planet’s largest mammals, and some species are on the brink of extinction.  Commercial whaling, collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing gear are just some causes for the dwindling numbers. 

Elephant populations are also at critical levels.  Every year, more than 20,000 African elephants are poached for their ivory. The largest land animal is now also one of the biggest wildlife targets.  

Environmentalists often said that if humans fail to act now, the impact on future generations would be far-reaching. But the early consequences of inaction are already here.