Human impact on the environment is now so severe that we are set to lose two-thirds of all wild animals by 2020 — just 3 years away. Reports the Guardian:
The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends.
The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame.
The creatures being lost range from mountains to forests to rivers and the seas and include well-known endangered species such as elephants and gorillas and lesser known creatures such as vultures and salamanders.
The cause of this unthinkable destruction is the destruction of wild areas for farming and logging. The report continues:
The majority of the Earth’s land area has now been impacted by humans, with just 15% protected for nature. Poaching and exploitation for food is another major factor, due to unsustainable fishing and hunting: more than 300 mammal species are being eaten into extinction, according to recent research.
Pollution is also a significant problem with, for example, killer whales and dolphins in European seas being seriously harmed by long-lived industrial pollutants. Vultures in south-east Asia have been decimated over the last 20 years, dying after eating the carcasses of cattle dosed with an anti-inflammatory drug. Amphibians have suffered one of the greatest declines of all animals due to a fungal disease thought to be spread around the world by the trade in frogs and newts.
It would be easy to give up at this point given the sheer scale of the problem, but we can’t. So don’t. The environmental problem cannot be solved through despair or anger — it must be changed by behavior. And that means your behavior. If you are reading this, it is clear you care about what is happening to the planet and have at least some will to be a part of the solution rather than the problem. So what can you do? Here are 5 things you can do, literally today:
1. Cut down on meat consumption, particularly beef. By reducing your meat consumption by 20 percent, you’ll achieve the same positive impact on climate crisis as you would by switching from a regular car to a hybrid. Less beef means less deforestation and less destruction of other species.
2. Stop buying crap. Seriously, do you really need that new iPhone? Save the money instead and put it towards getting a more fuel efficient car. Or just buy used goods.
3. Car pool. Try to get rides with friends and family rather than driving yourself. a 20% reduction in car rides is 20% less CO2 you are pumping into the atmosphere.
4. Buy food from sustainable farms. Yes, it really is that simple. Sustainable farming actually has a positive, regenerative effect on local ecosystems, so we need to start supporting them pronto.
5. Vote for politicians who will take action on the environment. And that means not this guy.
Don’t lose hope. Do something instead.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.