A new study from WWF International has reported that humans have wiped out 60 percent of the world’s mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles since 1970, and experts are now warning that wildlife destruction is an emergency that is threatening civilization. As important species continue to die at alarming rates, the ecosystems that humans also depend on are being destroyed.

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The recent Living Planet Report involved 59 scientists from around the world, and these experts found that the growing consumption of food and resources by Earth’s population is destroying the web of life, on which humans depend for clean air and water. The main culprits of the destruction are overexploitation and agriculture.

Related: WWF predicts wild animal populations will plummet 67 percent by 2020

“We are sleepwalking toward the edge of a cliff,” said Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF. “If there was a 60 percent decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China and Oceania. That is the scale of what we have done.” Barrett also said that this decimation is jeopardizing the future of humanity.

Global sustainability expert and professor Johan Rockström said that we are running out of time, and we must address the ecosystems and climate if we stand a chance of safeguarding the planet for our future on Earth.

According to The Guardian, many scientists believe that we have entered a sixth mass extinction, and it is the first caused by humans. Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, said that the fundamental issue is consumption, and we cannot ignore the impact of wasteful lifestyles.

In 2020, many nations of the world will be meeting at the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity to make new commitments to protect nature and wildlife. Barrett said we need a new global deal for people and the environment, and this is our last chance to do this right.

As Tanya Steele, chief executive of the WWF said, “We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it.”


Via The Guardian

Image via Ray in Manila