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‘Ominous’ UN Report Warns Human Activity Has Pushed One Million Plant and Animal Species to Brink of Extinction

(COMMON DREAMS) Jake Johnson, May 13, 2019

A United Nations report described as the most authoritative and comprehensive assessment of global biodiversity ever published found that human exploitation of the natural world has pushed a million plant and animal species to the brink of extinction—with potentially devastating implications for the future of civilization.

“This is the most thorough, the most detailed and most extensive planetary health check. The take home message is that we should have gone to the doctor sooner. We are in a bad way.”
—Andy Purvis, report author

Conducted by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and released Monday, the report warned that species extinction rates are “accelerating” at an “unprecedented” rate due to the human-caused climate crisis and economic activity.

“The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” Sir Robert Watson, chair of the IPBES, said in a statement. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide.”

While the report’s findings—compiled by a team of hundreds of experts from 50 nations—are dire and cause for serious alarm, Watson said, there is still a window for action.

“It is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” said Watson. “Through ‘transformative change,’ nature can still be conserved, restored, and used sustainably—this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic, and social factors, including paradigms, goals, and values.”

Eduardo Brondizio, co-chair of the IPBES, echoed Watson, saying “business as usual has to end.”

via ‘Ominous’ UN Report Warns Human Activity Has Pushed One Million Plant and Animal Species to Brink of Extinction.