According to The Living Planet Index, there was a decline of 52% in vertebrates worldwide between 1970 and 2010. That means half the number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish across the globe was halved in only 40 years! Freshwater species have declined by 76% and marine species by 39%, which is the same as terrestrial species, in the period of time mentioned above. Habitat loss and degradation, and exploitation through hunting and fishing, are the primary causes of decline. Climate change is the next most common primary threat, and is likely to put more pressure on populations in the future.
The coming years are veiled with uncertainty regarding our planet and its dying biodiversity. It is high time both the governments and the people start fighting for a common goal: to prevent an Anthropogenic mass extinction. Currently, most states in the world are working for corporations that have no other purpose than profit, without thinking about the consequences of their actions in the long run.
I am struggling to become a marine biologist and these days it strikes me, more and more, that our generation of specialists in this field may be amongst the last ones to study the seas and the oceans of Earth as they have been for a very long time. Marine environments have already been and are being abused because many industries rely on them. Yet again, it is the mindless corporations that put wealth above anything else without realizing their way of doing business isn’t reliable or sustainable. People should elect governments that understand the current environmental issues caused by human activities and are willing to undertake the responsibility to change the way we use the resources available to us.
Many countries around the world have politicians who know absolutely nothing about climate change, biodiversity, ecosystems or, let’s say, aquatic ecotoxicology. But they are the ones making the laws that impact the very resources our economies heavily rely on. Aside from this, corporations try their best to put climate change in a negative light and lately they have been very successful in making people believe climatologists are wrong and that global warming is nothing but a big fat lie.
My message to this kind of people, who would rather believe what they’re being told rather than using their brain to understand a certain issue, is the following quote by Ban Ki-moon, the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“Climate change does not respect border; it does not respect who you are – rich and poor, small and big. Therefore, this is what we call ‘global challenges,’ which require global solidarity.”