A million species in jeopardy of extinction warns UN report

World Today

In the oceans, on land and in the air up to a million plant and animal species are facing extinction in the coming decades. That’s the alarming conclusion from a far-reaching new United Nations study.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

“We’ve lost much of our native forests, much of our native wetlands and effectively biodiversity needs to be considered as an equally important issue as climate change. It’s not just an environmental issue, it is an economic issue, a development issue, a security issue, social, moral and ethical issue. The time for action clearly is now,” Sir Robert Watson, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services said.


One hundred and forty-five authors from 50 countries spent three years compiling the report. They conclude that human activity is driving this ecological crisis. Global climate change and pollution plus deforestation industrial farming, over-fishing, and rapid urbanization are damaging or eliminating natural habitats—in turn, threatening humanity.

“As we lose biodiversity, it threatens human wellbeing, all the way as I’ve said from food security, water security, energy security. Also loss of natural resources in some parts of the world can lead to conflict between people basically and especially poor people are hurt and therefore they’re most dependent on natural resources,” said Watson.

The authors say we will have to change make “transformative change” in how we eat, live and work to reduce the negative impact humans are having on the planet. Actions that will require placing long-term environmental benefit ahead of short-term economic gain.

“We have not lost the battle and if given the chance, nature will reconquer its rights and will prevail so we really want everyone to feel that they can contribute, that they are part of the solution and this is very much the main message that this report is bringing to the world,” said Anne Larigaudre, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services.


John Englander on the threat of extinction

Scientists warn that one million species are threatened by extinction because of human actions. U.N. officials believe reversing the findings will require more than 100 developing and non-developed nations to work together. CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with John Englander for more. Englander is an Oceanographer and expert on climate change and has written two books on the subject.