One million species on brink of extinction

| 06/05/2019 | 46 Comments
Cayman News Service

Green sea turtle

(CNS): More than one million species of plants and animals, from orchids to turtles, are on the brink of extinction, according to a new report based on the work of an international team of scientists, which warns of an acceleration in species extinction rates that are already unprecedented in human history. Without transformative change to restore and protect nature, the experts warn there will be a “grave impact on people”. The news comes as the Cayman Islands Government is seeking to water down the National Conservation Law to allow more development — exactly the opposite of what is required to prevent a global catastrophe.

The landmark report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) sets out a stark future unless serious action is taken to reverse the trend. It is described as the most comprehensive report ever completed, compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries over the past three years, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors.

A summary of the report, which was released Monday, states that the average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, most of which has happened since 1900. More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reef forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened. It also warned that 66% of the marine environment has been significantly altered by human actions.

Despite these realities, as well as preparing to gut the conservation law the Cayman government wants to contribute to further destruction of our marine habitat with the planned cruise berthing project.

“The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” said IPBES Chairman Sir Robert Watson in a press release about the new report. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

The report indicates that it is not too late to make a difference if people act locally and globally.

“Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals,” Watson added. “By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”

But the panel is well aware of the opposition that will come from those with interests vested in the status quo, which must be overcome for the broader public good.

Based on the systematic review of about 15,000 scientific and government sources, the report also draws (for the first time ever at this scale) on indigenous and local knowledge, particularly addressing issues relevant to indigenous peoples and local communities.

“Biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people are our common heritage and humanity’s most important life-supporting ‘safety net’. But our safety net is stretched almost to breaking point,” said Prof. Sandra Díaz (Argentina), who co-chaired the Assessment with Prof. Josef Settele (Germany) and Prof. Eduardo S. Brondízio (Brazil and USA). “The diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems, as well as many fundamental contributions we derive from nature, are declining fast, although we still have the means to ensure a sustainable future for people and the planet.”

Settele warned that ecosystems, species and wild populations are vanishing. “The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed… This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world,” he said.

The report warns that global goals for conserving and sustainably using nature and achieving sustainability cannot be met by current trajectories and the loss of biodiversity is not only an environmental issue, but a developmental, economic, security, social and moral issue too.

Brondízio said drivers include population growth and per capita consumption; technological innovation, which in some cases has lowered and in other cases increased the damage to nature; and issues of governance and accountability.

The report has also identified the evolution of global financial and economic systems to build a global sustainable economy, steering away from the current limited paradigm of economic growth, as a key element of more sustainable future. This was raised by Prince Charles during his visit to the Cayman Islands when he called on our offshore sector to be innovative and come up with ways to adapt the financial system to a greener economy.

For more information and to read the report, visit the IPBES website.

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Category: Land Habitat, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (46)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    One million? What a nice convenient round number? As Stalin is reputed to have said during discussions on the famine in Ukraine, “If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.”

    Taking aside the fact that I don’t trust anything that comes out of the UN as far as I can throw it, this sounds rather like a suitably large number picked out at random to add weight to their claims rather than a scientifically valid prediction. Nothing new here, the various eco groups have been doing that for years. I’m not saying they’re wrong about what’s happening, just that scare tactics like this are not exactly the smartest way to make their case.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t wait till people like you are extinct.

    • Shut the front door says:

      The article says “more than one million”, not “exactly one million”. How does that sound like a random number? It’s an estimate, what where you expecting? The Earth is facing a environmental crisis and you’re nitpicking over the accuracy of an estimate????? We are fkn doomed.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:46, So I assume you do not accept any of the information from the United Nations Environmental Group on rising world wide temperatures? You probably are ignorant of the fact that the data is collated from every country in the world, and yes, the Cayman Islands temperature data comes through London.

      I can assure you that every country submitting temperature data to the United Nations is not making the rising temperature data up.

      Bet you have never looked in detail at any United Nations data on climate change temperatures because a simple mind will say it is a scare tactic only. What foolishness.

      I look forward to your personal extinction.

  2. Anonymous says:

    And still there are people that believe these creatures were one day on a boat.
    How naive and dumb can you be ?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mac, Alden, the political elite and business elite, while the world is awakening to the realization of the self-destructive path that we are on, your greedy self-interouest group is seeking to destroy our Cayman Islands for the benefit of the few.

    Caymanians need to wake up to the need for a Cayman Islands Extinction Revolution, to do as young people around the world are now doing to demand accountability from those that put themselves up as leaders.

    Alden, you have stated your intention to virtually destroy the purpose of the National Conservation Law, by the time you and your “Cayman Destruction Committee” is finished with the Law, it will be another not fit for purpose law.

    Alden, after the last election you wasted no time to throw your previous Minister of Environment, Hon. Wayne Panton under the bus, to reward your new found political bedfellows, the corrupt Mac along with his Dart and friends.

    Alden, for all in the quest for power to be the first two term Premier you have sadly lost your soul that so many, many people thought you had when Mac and his UDP gang were rejected in 2005, people went to PPM in the now known false belief that there was going to be a new dawn of honest, transparent, Caymanian first governance.

    We sadly now realize what we now have is more of the same sell out style Mac governance.

    We do need a revolution in thought in governance demanding openness, honesty and accountability to the people of the Cayman Islands.- that would be government we can TRUST.

  4. Ed says:

    Come on Cayman! You’re not going to take this seriously are you? With your superior levels of education and general wisdom, you know much better than these scientists don’t you?

    Just like climate change, it’s obvious scaremongering.

    Ignore it and keep cutting down the mangroves.

  5. Noah says:

    Yet we were down to just two of each not that long ago, presumably one male and one female?

  6. Spacetime says:

    99% of all mammals that ever existed have gone extinct. It’s only a matter of time until more are added to the list which will include humans if we don’t wise up. Looking at you politicians.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “We do not inherit the earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children.”🎯

    Which is why we need to open our eyes and fix what we can, while we still have time. It makes me so sad to think that my children might not be able to show their kids all the beautiful species that are on the brink of extinction.

    • SSM345 says:

      They dont even need to be extinct. Trying to find conch or lobster in 5yrs when I take my kids snorkeling is going to be near impossible and make me look like a failure in finding them and showing my kids what I grew up doing because they wont be around either unless you go down 60ft+ with a tank. Marinated conch willbe selling as an appetizer on our restaurants menus at the same price as Truffle or Caviar and it will be imported from somewhere else. All you can eat lobster (and they are sourced from Honduras etc) will be a story that Parents and Grandparents tell their children (or grand) like some mythical beast that once roamed the earth and everyone loved. Sadly, for Cayman in it’s current state with those creatures local populations will and needs to impose a ban on taking then like they have done for Nassau grouper at a bare minimum if our kids are to enjoy these fruits in the future plain and simple. Yet it will be someone elses fault when the well runs dry as usual. Wasnt one of the lessons we were taught growing up about sacrifice? For a “Christian” nation that spews adherence to the Bible it’s ironic that we love shellfish so much and forget the word conveniently whilst tucking into some stew on Sunday that our cousin poached from a marine park.

  8. Anonymous says:

    but as the compass says:
    ‘we are so small, we can’t make a differnce’…..zzzzzz
    the compass editorials on environmental matters are a joke.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thank you CNS. I hope you keep crushing the nay-sayers cause no matter how blissful ignorance is, it’s so ridiculous that people won’t just look and see what’s happening around them. Animals we saw in abundance years ago have whittled down. Parrots, hummingbirds, even the crabs! You don’t need a scientist to show you that. I love you CNS. Keep shining the light!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    One word… Overpopulation.

  11. Ron Ebanks says:

    I wonder if these Scientists that see these things are trying to fix them the proper way or they just trying to squeeze money out of Governments to support more research .

    • SSM345 says:

      Ron, just wondering if by “squeezing” do you mean like us having to support people put in Northward for poaching conch, turtle and lopsta to the tune of 70k a year? Because of them nothings left; did you go out this season and were you successful? Any local Waterman knows and has seen the rapid decline over the years. Or are you talking about us having to pay more for our Govt to get another 2m consultant report (per Ministry) on how to address the Environment, Energy, Tourism and Development problems we now face because of a lack of leadership and problem solving? Pray tell.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, we need a human mass extinction to save this world.

  13. Animaliberator says:

    Sadly, a good portion of the worlds population does not care too much, if any at all about things they cannot physically see.
    When they see a lion or tiger for instance, great fear comes to mind that these creatures will kill them. High probability is that they won’t unless you ask for it.
    What will kill us are the species we cannot see such as superbugs and the like.
    It is kind of like that with climate change too, if it does not hurt or kill me, who cares.

    Until it slaps you in the face.

    Time to wake up world…………………..

  14. Anonymous says:

    Everyone needs to go on a mainly vegetarian diet. Meat production is poisoning the planet. I’m not saying stop eating meat altogether nor am I someone who pity’s the animals that are slaughtered. It just isn’t sustainable for 7.5 billion meat eating humans to exist on this planet. Cut down to eating meat once or twice a week if you care about your children’s future. Buying organic where possible would also help. This is probably the easiest way everyone can reduce their carbon footprint.

    We also need to vote for a government who is pro renewable energy in future.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds good on paper, but we humans have a mentality of “they na doing it so why me?”

      See recycling, cycling instead of driving, water instead of soda, etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      meat consumption is a disater for:
      human health
      the planet

      this is not up for debate anymore.

    • Anonymous says:

      Vegetarian diets aren’t always the answer. I agree that certain animals that are farmed for meat, in particular, cows (beef), create large quantities of Co2. However you also need to understand that living on an island the majority of our fruit and veg is imported and comes here via plane or cargo ship. This in itself creates high levels of CO2. I was reading a paper that actually found that the production of lettuce was more damaging than the farming pigs or chickens in regards to co2 production. The main area that needs tackling is the energy and transport sector. We live on a pretty sunny island we need to invest more in solar energy and better public transport.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just watch the vegans have to go carnivore after a major global disaster. Don’t get me wrong but being vegan is not conducive to surviving a catastrophe unless you have unlimited supply of freeze dried veggies.

        • Anonymous says:

          What kind of backwards logic is that? If a global disaster were to happen wouldn’t it make more sense to eat plants which require less energy to produce over raising livestock?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hey CNS:

    Let me assist, here is even more leftist hysteria!

    (But look on the bright side: Since cow flatulence, plastic straw and fermented trees will certainly turn the earth into Mars, we won’t have to take the trip to mars to colonize the baron planet, we could do it right here on Earth and save hundred of billions!)

    CNS: All you’ve done is link to another article on the same UN report. What on earth was the point of that?
    Your basic philosophy appears to be:
    1. ‘Science I don’t want to believe in’ = leftist hysteria.
    2. Anything I find on the internet that backs up point 1 is definitely proper science, everything else, see point 1.
    So. instead of madly googling to find anything ….anything… that proves all those silly scientists with all those years of study and science (what’s the point of that!!) have no idea what they’re talking about, try actually reading the UN report.

    • Anonymous says:

      Brilliant retort CNS!

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS: Or alternatively, maybe the earth is not coming to an end, and there’s a lot of money being made in global carbon taxation and fear mongering. And the UN is keenly aware of this.

      CNS: Yes, because that’s so much more likely than the fossil fuel industry wanting to maintain their profits. Try this.

      • Anonymous says:

        wells aid cns…this fool does not realise he is buying into oil industry fake news and propaganda

    • SSM345 says:

      11:23, did you grow up here? If so, have you always hunted for conch, lopsta, gone fishing or snorkelling? If so, pray tell what has caused the rapid decline in those animals population or obvious damage to the reefs that you have actually witnessed first hand by partaking in those activities? Its all manmade whether by poaching or climate change Beimg born in Cayman during the 80s would have shown you that as a living example. Maybe you dont have kids and that’s why you clearly dont give a f, or maybe you own a business that profits off it, what’s obvious is that you dont go outside, or maybe you do and you are blind (if so my bad, that would explain it).

  16. Anonymous says:

    What other species does so much damage to the natural environment which it depends on for life? Humans are the worst virus this planet has ever seen.

  17. Abys says:

    Remember, scientists don’t know what they’re talking about and praying will fix all of our problems.


    • Al Catraz says:

      But of course.

      Look at all of the diseases which have been cured by praying, versus the ones which have been cured by science.

      • Anonymous says:

        cancer comes to mind. thank you god for giving us that

        • SSM345 says:

          And thank you God for continuously allowing XXXXX to murder and bomb innocent people after our prayers instead of sending down lightning bolts immediately.

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