José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana

The conclusion of one of the most complete intergovernmental scientific studies is chilling: one million species are currently in danger of extinction, and biodiversity is declining globally to unprecedented levels in human history.

“The health of the ecosystems on which human beings and other species depend is deteriorating faster than ever before. We are eroding the foundations of our economies, food security, health and quality of life at the international level, “says Sir Robert Watson, president of the Platform for Scientific Policy on Biodiversity and Ecosystems (IPBES).

The study, one of the most ambitious in which 145 experts from 50 countries participated, reached that conclusion after analyzing over three years more than 15,000 scientific and governmental sources on the relationship between economic development and its impact on nature.

The spookiest fact is that a total of 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many of them in the span of decades, the highest number of any other time in the history of mankind.

“Ecosystems, species, wild populations, local varieties and domesticated plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating or disappearing. The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is becoming smaller and more and more fragile,” lamented Professor Josef Settele.

But not all is bad news. The report argues that it is not too late to stop or even begin to reverse these worrisome trends, but only if we start at this very moment at all levels, from small communities to the global scale.

It is therefore a matter of humanity being willing to carry out what the report calls a “transformative change”, that is, a fundamental reorganization of world systems through technological, economic and social factors, including new paradigms, goals and values, as explained by Watson.

Among the options: promote best agricultural practices, fisheries management based on sustainable schemes, collaboration in the use of water, better access to green areas in poor communities, encourage the production and consumption of organic foods, as well as the participation of indigenous communities.

It is a commonplace to say that a problem can only be solved if its existence is recognized. The IPBES report is a call for help, but it is also a call to action. Nobody can profess ignorance. Now that we understand the dimension of the problem we can execute a plan starting now – from the individual level to the institutional one – its recommendations of common sense.

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