A shocking article in The Guardian today of research findings by scientists from the World Wildlife Fund & the Zoological Society of London called the ‘Living Planet Report,’ which found that 50% of wild animals on this Earth have been lost in the past 40-years – that’s since 1974.
The cause of such astronomical loss has been unsustainable hunting for food, habitat destruction & pollution.
A graph shows that 37% loss was caused by exploitation of wildlife, 31% habitat degradation & change, 13% habitat loss with 7% only for climate change. The remaining 11% came under the heading of ‘other.’
With development charging ahead, an ever-increasing human population & climate change starting to bite, these numbers will be increasing dramatically & soon, unless we make specific choices to act to prevent any further loss & take immediate & meaningful action to support the remaining wildlife. Obviously retaining & protecting forests is of paramount importance, but so is increasing the areas of real habitat to support biodiversity in urban areas.
“Currently, the global population is cutting down trees faster than they regrow, catching fish faster than the oceans can restock, pumping water from rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them and emitting more climate-warming carbon dioxide than oceans and forests can absorb. ….today’s average global rate of consumption would need 1.5 planet Earths to sustain it. But four planets would be required to sustain US levels of consumption, or 2.5 Earths to match UK consumption levels.”
Australia was rated number 13 in the Top 20 Countries with the Biggest Ecological Footprint. Kuwait Number was number 1, the US was number 8 & the UK number 20.
Rivers were the hardest hit with animal numbers plummeting by 75% since 1970. Just one more reason why we need to do whatever we can to restore & protect our own Cooks River.
Land animals have fallen by 40% since 1970 & marine animals also fallen by 40%. “But the big declines in wildlife in rich nations had already occurred long before the new report’s baseline year of 1970 – the last wolf in the UK was shot in 1680.” You can read the article here – http://bit.ly/1vrStsU
We can all take responsibility & make choices to do what we can to prevent further species loss. The following are some of the more obvious, but if we all did these, the impact would be profound & it would help our planet & the species that live here with us.
- Buy local food in season, even if it costs a few cents more. Grow food if you can.
- Buy or make your own reusable shopping bags. Marrickville Metro has a sign in the car park that says they go through 2,600 disposable plastic bags per week & this is just one shopping mall.
- Choose to buy products that have less packaging.
- Buy free-range eggs.
- Reuse & recycle as much as you can.
- Make you own compost, as this diverts an enormous amount of organic waste from going to landfill.
- Don’t buy products that contain palm oil because these mono forests are causing massive loss to species dependent on forests, such as the orangutans, elephants, tigers, rhinos & birds.
- Buy sustainably resourced timber & don’t support those companies that log old growth forests.
- Plant something native in our garden & start up a verge garden if you can. Every bit of space we green up supports wildlife, even if it is only insects & reptiles.
- Don’t plant invasive species & never dump unwanted plants in or near bush land.
- Do not disturb logs & bush rocks, as these may be homes for wildlife.
- Don’t pick wildflowers, take away plants or vandalise trees.
- Desex your dogs & cats & keep your cats on your property & inside at night.
- Attach as reflector on your cat’s collar to alert birds & other smaller animals of their presence.
- Don’t dump pets or dispose of unwanted fish in the river or the toilet.
- Do not remove river oysters or dig for crabs in the Cooks River. You can buy bait cheaply at fishing shops.
- Don’t keep small fish caught in the river. Put them back to allow them to grow to adulthood.
- Take home all fishing line & string that can cause entanglements to birds & other creatures.
- Take home all rubbish & leave the environment as clean as you can.