The Threat to Biodiversity
Could the entire Brazilian rainforest disappear? Could most ocean fisheries be wiped out? Could the African Sahel turn into a desert? Could most of the Earth’s living systems, on which we all depend for a healthy and secure life, collapse because of overuse, pollution and climate change? Are we facing a crisis of life even worse than the climate crisis?
The perfect storm of converging environmental crises
Are we really on our way to the “perfect storm” of converging and mutually reinforcing environmental catastrophes in the next 10 to 20 years, as the United Kingdom’s government's chief scientific adviser, John Beddington, recently claimed? And what role does the collapse of ecosystems play in this cocktail of environmental problems which also includes water, food and energy shortages, soil degradation, climate change and toxic pollution?
It's a fact that natural ecosystems, such as forests, grasslands, wetlands or coral reefs, are pushed harder and harder by mankind. Ecosystems are threatened by
● being cut into ever smaller and more unconnected pieces, such as the rainforests of Madagascar, where less than 10% of the original rainforest remains in more and more isolated pieces which are still being cut down and burned
● overharvesting, as is happening to the ocean’s fish, where scientists estimate that we will have fished out most edible fish within the next 40 years
● non-native species invading them, such as Australia’s infamous cane toad which is poisoning many native animals
● pollution, of which climate change is just one aspect, but which also includes plastic pollution of the oceans causing the painful death of millions of animals, or chemicals disturbing the reproduction and growth of plants and animals
Business as usual is no longer an option
There is certainly a growing consensus among ecologists and activists that radical change is needed, meaning that we have to make drastic changes to how we manage system earth. Achim Steiner, the director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said recently: "Humanity has fabricated the illusion that somehow we can get by without biodiversity or that it is somehow peripheral to our contemporary world: the truth is we need it more than ever on a planet of 6 billion [people], heading to over 9 billion by 2050. Business as usual is no longer an option if we are to avoid irreversible damage to the life-support systems of our planet."
This video project is a wake-up call to us all to inform ourselves and then take action.