Biodiversity loss – 6th mass extinction

GDP and environmental degradation, including biodiversity loss, have long been positively correlated but this article from CASSE predicts that the imminent end to growth in wealth will not stop the decline on biodiversity that economic growth has long fostered.

This article from Stanford University presents the case that we are now into the 6th great mass extinction on planet earth:

The evidence is incontrovertible that recent extinction rates are unprecedented in human history and highly unusual in Earth’s history. Our analysis emphasizes that our global society has started to destroy species of other organisms at an accelerating rate, initiating a mass extinction episode unparalleled for 65 million years. If the currently elevated extinction pace is allowed to continue, humans will soon (in as little as three human lifetimes) be deprived of many biodiversity benefits. On human time scales, this loss would be effectively permanent because in the aftermath of past mass extinctions, the living world took hundreds of thousands to millions of years to rediversify. Avoiding a true sixth mass extinction will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species and to alleviate pressures on their populations—notably habitat loss, overexploitation for economic gain, and climate change (3133). All of these are related to human population size and growth, which increases consumption (especially among the rich), and economic inequity (6). However, the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

This BBC article (October 2016)  is based on a report that concludes that since 1970 the world has lost 58% of its wildlife. The Living Planet assessment, by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and WWF, suggests that if the trend continues that decline could reach two-thirds among vertebrates by 2020.

Why biodiversity is crucial for our survival

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