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Biodiversity = the variety of all life on earth; this means everything from plants and animals to microscopic organisms living within the soil. Our planet supports the life of around 8.7 million different species, and all of these organisms work together and interact to maintain and support the ecosystem they belong to, which helps keep our planet and climate stable.
Unfortunately, all of the world’s ecosystems are at risk, as the economic growth of recent decades has come at the expense of our natural world, but his destructive path is not one we can afford to continue down. The truth is that half of the world’s GDP is dependent on nature, and the longer we wait to restore it, the more costly those restorations are likely to be.
Since humans have walked the earth, we have altered 75-95% of terrestrial land, transforming it from wild nature to settlements, croplands, and rangelands. We have also dammed or diverted 63% of the world’s largest rivers, are overfishing 34% of our global fish stocks, and have contributed to the reshaping of nearly all marine coastal landscapes.
Between 1970 to 2016, 68% of all monitored wildlife populations (mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles) were lost, and since 1990, about 420 million hectares of forests have been converted to other land uses.
This list is intended to provide a snapshot of some of the major causes of biodiversity loss and should not be considered exhaustive.
Source: IPBES, 2019
Habitat destruction and fragmentation through land/sea use change
We recently crossed the planetary boundary for novel entities (or materials not found in nature) being introduced into the environment. Chemical pollution, in particular, is heavily toxic to living organisms. These substances range far beyond pesticides and fertilizers to lesser-known pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, industrial additives, and more.