The UN report written by 150 scientists from 50 countries says extinctions will affect food, water and aspects of quality of life. But there is still time to act: on climate change, pesticides, family planning and urban sprawl.
Nature’s current rate of decline is unparalleled, the report says, and the accelerating rate of extinctions “means grave impacts on people around the world are now likely.” In a statement, Robert Watson, a British chemist who served as the panel’s chairman, said the decline in biodiversity is eroding “the foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”Scientists have been warning about human-driven extinctions since Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, was released in 1962. But humanity has largely stuck its fingers in its ears. La la la la, we can’t hear you. Now we may be facing Silent Spring, Summer and Fall.
“Let’s be quite candid,” Watson said. “Since 1992, we’ve been telling the world we have a problem. Now what’s different? It’s much worse today than it was in 1992. We’ve wasted all of the time . . . the last 25 years.” However, he said, “we have a much better understanding of the links between climate change, biodiversity, and food security and water security.”So what can you do? Here are 7 ideas.
- Vote for people and policies that reverse climate change and protect the environment.
- Donate to charities that address conservation and community needs.
- Donate to charities that provide family planning and women’s empowerment.
- Support changes in local land use codes in favor of density, even if you would prefer to live in the ‘burbs. (We moved from 5 acres in the country to the city and I was surprised how much I liked it.)
- Participate in conservation work locally or through volunteer vacations.
- Plant native plants and collect rainwater.
- Reduce the number of meals with animal protein.