The World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, released the findings of its Living Planet Index, which tracks the state of global biodiversity by identifying the population of thousands of vertebrate species around the globe. And the news isn't good.
"There can not be a healthy, happy and prosperous future for people on a planet with a destabilized climate, depleted oceans and rivers, degraded land and empty forests, all stripped of biodiversity, the web of life that sustains us all", WWF Director General Marco Lambertin wrote in the report, which included contributions from more than 50 experts from around the world.
It says that South and Central America have suffered the most dramatic decline in species populations - an 89% loss compared to 1970.
"It is important to remember that nature forms the crux of modern human society and our economic activities ultimately depend on the resources that the planet provides".
"If there was a 60 percent decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China and Oceania".
"This report sounds a warning shot across our bow".
"But if we squander this opportunity, we will condemn many more species to population loss and even extinction", she cautioned.
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"We are living in time when our continuous need for increased consumption is driving us into an era the scientists are calling the Anthropocene - where humanity is shaping the future of the planet". But it doesn't tell us that we've lost 60% of our wildlife. The main culprits of the destruction are overexploitation and agriculture.
In our 200,000 years on Earth, humans have had a greater impact on the planet than any other species. The welfare of up to 3 billion people who rely on wildlife to eat and work has reduced because of land degradation, and services relying on nature are worth around $125 trillion globally, the report said. Through indicators such as the LPI, the Species Habitat Index (SHI), the IUCN Red List Index (RLI) and the Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII), as well as Planetary Boundaries and the Ecological Footprint, the report paints a singular disturbing picture: human activity is pushing the planet's natural systems that support life on earth to the edge.
The report says the crisis for the planet is "mindblowing".
The report concludes that, in order to reverse current trends in biodiversity loss, society needs to "aim higher".
The report calls for a "global deal for nature", similar to the Paris Climate Agreement, to set more ambitious conservation goals. The WWF has urged the 196 member nations of the Convention on Biological Diversity to consider a range of targets when they meet in Egypt in late November.
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"We need to radically escalate the political relevance of nature and galvanize a cohesive movement across state and non-state actors to drive change, to ensure that public and private decision-makers understand that business as usual is not an option", it adds.