A new United Nations report paints a bleak picture for the future of the planet, and Wisconsin is not immune from the ravages of global species extinction. The U.N. report says one million species are at risk for extinction worldwide. The global assessment released Monday illustrates how human activity is decimating plants and animals, many of which are beneficial to humans. The report also shows how climate change is furthering those losses.
Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, meeting last week (29 April – 4 May) in Paris.
“The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. “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 also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” he said. “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”
The list of endangered or threatened plants, animals and fish in Wisconsin totals more than 150 species, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Wisconsin lakes, rivers and streams are threatened by invasive and non native species such as zebra mussels and Asian carp. Emerald ash borers are killing native ash trees, and the white nose fungus from Europe has virtually wiped out the state’s species of cave dwelling bats.