Exclusive | Emma Smith investigates how 83% of animals and 50% of plants have gone extinct.
Photo by Geran De Klerk
It is no secret that over the last few thousand years and most prevalent in recent times, humanity has slowly been killing the flora and fauna on planet earth.
Since the industrial revolution of the late 1700s, our once rural civilisation has largely grown into an industrialised metropolis and continues to do so. With big companies “privatising“ land and prioritising profit over the well-being of our shared planet, our natural environment has been forced to adapt to our ever-changing needs and consumer demands; thus, destroying and poisoning the homes of living creatures inhabited here.
Studies say that so far humanity has killed 83% of all wild animals and half of all the plants.
This staggering statistic may go unheard if we continue to exploit the environment the way we have been. Industrial farming, extraction of resources and the expansion of civilisation are all ways in which we have been damaging our wild animals and plants. The extensive, relentless ways in which we cultivate our modern lifestyles is having the opposite effect on the animal kingdom. Every new building or fuel emission contributes to this epidemic, and we are ultimately competing with wildlife for food and energy.
We may not even realise some of the ways in which we contribute to this problem on a day to day basis. Fertilisers, pollution and toxic chemicals found in sewage are ingested by animals every day, and although this may make significantly less difference to people, it’s fatal to an animal.
“By merely continuing with our present practices and routines, we human beings will increasingly harm our own habitat, the portion of nature we require to survive, and ultimately destroy our own civilisation” | Robert Jay Lifton - Psychiatrist
The Imbalance Between Domestic and Wild Animals.
60% of all the mammals left in the world are livestock, which is testament to human disruption in the eco system. Deforestation continues to go on in order to grow feed for livestock. It is beneficial for us to rear livestock; however, we are seemingly unconcerned about less valued animals and plants, resulting in this uneven divide.
What's more, scientists have recently argued that the earth is currently undergoing its sixth wave of mass distinction.
Climate change has also dramatically contributed to this pandemic. There are 100,000,000 different species on earth; of which at least 10,000 go extinct every year. The consequences of CO2 emissions are deadly, with a 97% scientific consensus that global warming is man-made and is synonymous with the burning of fossil fuels and mass deforestation.
Most recently, we saw temperatures rocket to 37 and 38 degrees Celsius in the UK; the effects of increasing water temperatures mean not only do glaciers melt faster, but in the Antarctic sea creatures are unable to live in the slightly warmer conditions, disrupting the food chain.
How can we help to reverse the impact?
The key to saving our wild animals and plant life is through sustainable living. Although the facts are undeniably shocking; it’s never too late to put a stop to the destruction. Change has to start somewhere and every action helps, no matter how small.
Here are some ways in which you can help savour the life we still have and inspire others around you to do so:
1. Participate in cleaning up rubbish in the streets and in your home
2. Give your unwanted items to charity instead of throwing them away
3. Collect your empty crisp packets to give to your local recycling scheme
4. Adopt a wild or endangered animal
5. Separate plastic six pack rings used to package drinks before you throw them away
6. Drive an electric or hybrid car
7. Cut back on the amount of meat you eat
8. Educate others!
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