WWF Report Says 68% Of Wildlife Has Been Wiped Out Since 1970 With The Blame Put Squarely On Human Activity

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WWF Report Says 68% Of Wildlife Has Been Wiped Out Since 1970 With The Blame Put Squarely On Human Activity

Photos: WWF Living Planet Report 2020, Left: © Svalbard Global Seed Vault / Riccardo Gangale, Right: © naturepl.com / Andy Rouse / WWF

Animal populations worldwide have declined by almost 70% in just 50 years, according to a new Living Planet Report 2020 by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The authors point the blame squarely in the direction of human activity.


The shocking report, which should wake up anyone still in denial about human impact on the environment, stated that of the 21,000 species monitored, wild populations have declined by 68% since 1970, with freshwater species being the most impacted. Freshwater species numbers have fallen by an unbelievable 84% in just 50 years.


The report says that human activity, such as farming, urbanisation, climate change, habitat destruction, pollution and hunting are all to blame and that it is almost human activity alone that has caused such an impact in such a short time.


WWF U.S. President and CEO Carter Roberts released a statement addressing the report in which he said:


"This report reminds us that we destroy the planet at our peril — because it is our home. As humanity's footprint expands into once-wild places, we're devastating species populations. But we're also exacerbating climate change and increasing the risk of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19. We cannot shield humanity from the impacts of environmental destruction. It's time to restore our broken relationship with nature for the benefit of species and people alike."


Making direct reference to CoVid-19, the report also spoke of the large amount of new diseases that have come about over the last 80 years, mostly as a result of humans coming into contact with animals and territories in which they rarely previously ventured with diseases then jumping from animal species to humans.


It also said that the destruction of animal habitats and ecosystems, along with global warming, threatened over 1 million more species with extinction. Much of this habitat destruction is caused by industrial farming, whereby forests are cleared to raise cattle for food production. Such farms also use a huge amount of freshwater. Indeed, agriculture is believed responsible for 80% of deforestation and 70% of the world's human freshwater usage.


While it is possible to be deeply pessimistic about the future, WWF global chief scientist Rebecca Shaw sounded a note of hope, saying:


"While the trends are alarming, there is reason to remain optimistic. Young generations are becoming acutely aware of the link between planetary health and their own futures, and they are demanding action from our leaders. We must support them in their fight for a just and sustainable planet."


What is clear is that the global economy and the way human society is organised will need to change quite significantly if we have any chance of saving the natural world and, in the long-term, ourselves.

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Thinking Humanity: WWF Report Says 68% Of Wildlife Has Been Wiped Out Since 1970 With The Blame Put Squarely On Human Activity
WWF Report Says 68% Of Wildlife Has Been Wiped Out Since 1970 With The Blame Put Squarely On Human Activity
Animal populations worldwide have declined by almost 70% in just 50 years, according to a new Living Planet Report 2020 by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The authors point the blame squarely in the direction of human activity. The shocking report, which should wake up anyone still in denial about human impact on the environment, stated that of the 21,000 species monitored, wild populations have declined by 68% since 1970, with freshwater species being the most impacted. Freshwater species numbers have fallen by an unbelievable 84% in just 50 years.
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