8 May 2019

It’s difficult to wrap your head around the sheer scale of the extinction crisis revealed by the UN’s global assessment report on biodiversity: “The Report finds that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history. The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900. More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reefforming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened. The picture is less clear for insect species, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10% being threatened. At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened.” The report was “compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries over the past three years, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors”. The chair of the committee says, “it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global. Through ‘transformative change’… a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.” There is no time to waste.