Biodiversity - Underestimating Future Challenges Of Evading A Dreadful Earth
Human consumption, climate change, biodiversity loss, and population growth are all projected to worsen during the next several decades, with long-term consequences that might last for millennia.
Due to human activities, Earth's capacity to support complex life is fast diminishing.
In spite of the fact that human civilisation has been disintegrating for millennia, the mainstream refuses to accept this loss.
Despite the various solutions available, their implementation does not keep pace with the gradual loss of biodiversity and other serious human-related issues.
As with climate change, the time lag between ecological degradation and social and economic consequences makes it difficult to comprehend the magnitude of the problem and to take action to address it.
Complex adaptive systems are alien to those who specialize and isolate themselves.
Inaction is hampered by a lack of knowledge about human behavior and the evolving social landscape.
To highlight the human issue, the natural world was summarized.
Human civilization's expansion has had a profound effect on the ecosystem. In spite of a wide variation in the degree of species and population loss across geographic regions, some worldwide patterns are clearly evident.
Humans have transformed more than >70% of the Earth's land surface since the beginning of agriculture roughly 11,000 years ago, with the biomass of terrestrial vegetation halving and the loss of more than >20% of its original biodiversity.
As many as >700 recognized vertebrates and ~600 plant species have gone extinct in the last 500 years; many more are likely to have gone extinct without being reported.
Many vertebrate species have had their populations shrink by as much as 68% during the previous five decades, with some populations declining by as much as 90%, indicating that their species is on the verge of becoming extinct.
Among the estimated 7–10 million eukaryotic species on the earth, maybe 1 million species are at risk of extinction in the near future, with 40% of plants alone considered endangered. It's believed that the worldwide biomass of wild animals now is less than <25% of what it was in the Late Pleistocene. Insects, on the other hand, are quickly declining in many locations.
Both the freshwater and marine ecosystems have suffered significant harm as well. Approximately <15% of the world's original wetland area is already gone, and more than >75% of rivers longer than >1,000 kilometers no longer flow freely.
Approximately 2/3 of all oceans have been negatively affected in some way by human activities, and the amount of live coral on reefs has decreased by half in the past <200 years. The area of seagrass has decreased by 10% per decade over the last century, and the amount of kelp forests has decreased by ~40%.
It takes around 3 million years for a major extinction to occur. Five major extinctions have occurred since the Cambrian, with the most recent being 66 million years ago. Extinction rates have steadily risen since then, but today's rate is orders of magnitude greater.
There have been >15 times more vertebrate species wiped off annually since the 16th century than there were in the whole pre-industrial era. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that 20% of all species will become extinct in the next few decades, which is far greater than the normal rate of extinction. There is no doubt in the minds of scientists that we are on the verge of a sixth mass extinction.
More than seven billion people have been born on our planet since 1970. While some countries have stopped growing or even decreased, the worldwide average fertility rate (2.3 children) remains over replacement, with 4.8 in Sub-Saharan Africa and more than four in many others (e.g., Afghanistan, Yemen, Timor-Leste).
Sub-Saharan Africa's population is expected to treble in the next 30 years. By 2050, the world's population is projected to expand to 9.9 billion people, a rate that will likely continue throughout the next century. Forecasts for the end of this century anticipate a peak.
Societal and economic issues arise when the population grows rapidly. Food insecurity is a result of population growth and unequal distribution of resources. 700–800 million people are starving, and 1–2 billion are malnourished and unable to work because of a lack of micronutrients.
There will be further food shortages in the future. Development and population growth have a negative impact on soil quality and biodiversity. The Earth is being poisoned by an ever-increasing population of synthetic compounds and disposable plastics. An outbreak of pandemics might lead to a race for resources.
Congestion, unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, and a horrible administration are all consequences of population growth. Data reveals that conflict may be sparked by populations that are rapidly expanding.
Jobs, healthcare, economic progress, and currency stability are all more important than halting the loss of biodiversity. Aichi Biodiversity 2020 Targets set by CBD.int in 2010 were not met.
Even if they were achieved, there would have been little difference in the pace of extinction. UN Sustainable Development Goals relating to nature are also on track for failure, in part because they haven't adequately considered their interdependencies with other social and economic challenges.
In spite of a rising environmental toll, humanity's medium and long-term life-support system has been affected by an increasing average standard of living. A Ponzi scheme for the environment and future generations is being operated by humanity as a whole. As a result of greenwashing, even the World Economic Forum now regards biodiversity loss as a global economic issue.
Human health and wealth are being harmed by a pandemic that has been long prophesied and may be connected to the loss of biodiversity.
Environmental deterioration, including climate change, deforestation, intensive farming, bushmeat hunting, and a rising wildlife trade, suggests that pathogen-transferring interactions between humans and animals are possible.
The risk of pathogen release and spread is increased in Biodiversity Hotspots where pathogen diversity is great but institutional capacity is weak.
Despite the fact that the consequences of climate change are more clear than those of biodiversity loss, society has been slow to act. If current trends continue, humanity will have caused global temperature to rise by at least 1.0°C by 2030 and 1.5°C by 2052.
The IPCC estimates that a concentration of 450 parts per million of CO2-e would prevent global warming from exceeding 2°C in 66% of cases. It is possible that the melting of permafrost and the release of stored methane would postpone temperature-reducing responses even if humans stop using fossil fuels before 2030.
Weather patterns reflect human-induced climate change every day. The IPCC relies on averages from a variety of models and policy suggestions to arrive at its conclusions, and those conclusions have exceeded or matched previous projections of global climate change. Even if mankind reduces emissions, the most recent climate models (CMIP6) predict more warming in the future.
Nation states have not met their commitments under the five-year-old Paris Climate Agreement, and scientists have proposed major changes (in energy production or pollution reduction or environmental stewardship or food supply or economics or population policies, for example) but no effective international response has yet emerged in response to this growing global concern.
Without large, extra pledges made and completed, global warming would still reach 2.6–3.1°C by 2100, even if all signatories accept their obligations (a doubtful scenario). Climate change will have disastrous consequences for the biosphere and humanity if no action is taken to curtail it.
It is possible that if the majority of the world's population understood the scope of the issues we've described and the likelihood of things becoming worse, political and legislative reforms would be made to address the existential threats. In fact, the opposite is the case.
It's no secret that right-wing populist leaders are anti-environmentalists, as we've seen in Brazil, the USA, and Australia. Globalizing policies are difficult because of wide disparities in people's income, wealth, and consumption between countries and regions.
Individual fitness declines when a population nears its carrying limit. As a result, the rate of population growth slows or perhaps stops altogether. We have increased food production, the use of animals, and other resources in the natural environment because of our inventiveness.
Temperature was controlled by means of clothing, shelter, and microclimate management. Products were delivered from far locations and death and injury were reduced via community infrastructure and services.
There has been an overuse of nature's resources and services by humans, which has led to an overshoot of long-term carrying capacity (or biocapacity), which may lead to more disastrous consequences if not managed effectively.
Competition for finite resources will only become worse as the population continues to grow. More terrorism, a more vulnerable economic system, and a worsening of the effects of global toxification are just some of the possible consequences of continued environmental degradation and agro-intensification, as well as a worsening of the effects of climate change and environmental degradation themselves. Since escaping overshoot is inescapable, the choice is whether to leave overrun by design or tragedy.
Here, we won't go into the complexities and intricacies of the many solutions to the human problem. Evidence-based literature about how to enhance human behavior for everyone's benefit can be found all over the internet. In the absence of a clear plan of action, people are more focused on the how of things, leading to the formation of several organizations.
Since the situation is so critical, it is necessary to alter the global economic system and the way education and equality are regulated. This includes ending perpetual economic growth, regulating markets and property acquisition, and reining in corporate lobbying are just some of the necessary changes that must be made.
These solutions will need difficult discussions about population growth and lower, more equitable living standards.
The diversity of living creatures is referred to as "biodiversity." Biodiversity encompasses the variety of species and living forms (including but not limited to those found in the animal, plant, entomological, and other realms) as well as their genetic variability, or the rate at which they evolve within their respective ecosystems.
Genes, species, creatures, and ecosystems are all examples of biological resources that are part of the biodiversity of life. Species, genetic, ecological, and global biodiversity are the four primary levels of biodiversity.
Varieties of life on earth's many levels. Most biodiversity research focuses on the genetic diversity, species variety, and ecological variety of organisms. The complexity of life on Earth is a result of the interplay of these three levels.
biodiversity is threatened by habitat loss, over-harvesting, and invasive species invasion. Increasing human population and resource consumption are the causes of the first two of these changes. The third is a consequence of increasing mobility and international commerce.
The projections for this century have been laid forth, and they include widespread extinction, declining health, upheavals caused by climatic change, and resource warfare.
However, the message that is intended to come across is not one of pessimism or resignation because there have been many successful interventions on both a local and regional scale to avert extinctions, restore ecosystems, and promote more sustainable economic activities.
This is because there are many instances of effective interventions at both local and regional scales.
Instead, they say that in order for the global community to prepare for a future that is less catastrophic, it must first have a true knowledge of the immense problems that it is currently facing.
Even while there have been recent calls for the scientific community, in particular, to be more vocal in their warnings to humanity, such warnings have not been quite gloomy enough in relation to the severity of the danger.
A successful communication plan should, ideally, counteract this tendency without instilling exaggerated sentiments of dread and despair. This is because humans have what is known as a "optimism bias," which causes some people to overestimate the severity of a crisis and disregard the warnings of professionals.
Reluctance, resisting the need to sugarcoat the formidable challenges that lie ahead, and telling it like it is are all things that experts in any field that has anything to do with the future of biodiversity and human well-being must do. Anything else is, at best, misleading, and, at worst, might be lethal to the human race and its efforts.