One Million Species At Risk Of Extinction Because Of Humans
Although it's something that you might not really consider consider in day-to-day life, extinction is a serious issue and all-too-real prospect when it comes to the future of the planet.
A new report, seen by AFP, has said that up to a million species of animals could become extinct as a direct result of the impact humans have had.
Created by the UN, the draft report has gone in to detail about what it is that humans have done to cause such destruction to the environment.
Things that should be considered to pose a threat as significant as climate change include the loss of clean air and water, CO2-absorbing forests, insects to pollinate plants, protein-rich fish and storm-blocking mangroves.
According to many experts, a 'mass extinction' is already happening, the last one of which happened 66 million years ago in the 'Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event' - i.e. when the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid.
This means that we are partway through only the sixth mass extinction in the last half-billion years - yes, maths boffins, that's 500 million years.
Let that figure sink in a minute, and once you have got your head round it, think about the fact that we are on the way to creating a similar level of carnage to that wreaked upon the dinosaurs by an actual asteroid.
Pretty horrifying, isn't it?
Scientists say that the earth is home to around eight million species, most of which are insects. However, a quarter of all animals and plants are being pushed to extinction due to crowding, or being either eaten or poisoned out of existence.
Chief World Wife Fund for Nature (WWF) scientist Rebecca Shaw has said that time is limited, but it's not too late to make a change.
She told AFP: "If we're going to have a sustainable planet that provides services to communities around the world, we need to change this trajectory in the next ten years, just as we need to do that with climate."
According to the report, the direct causes of species loss, in order of importance, are shrinking habitat and land-use change, hunting for food or trade in body parts, climate change, pollution, and alien species such as rats, mosquitoes and snakes that hitch rides on ships or planes.
Although we still have a long way to go with reversing the damage we've done to the planet, campaigns like #Trashtag are making a real difference. The viral initiative challenges people to pick up rubbish in their local area or on their travels, in a bid to clean up public spaces and natural spots such as beaches.
Featured Image Credit: PA