Only 10 years is the possible time limit we have to save the biodiversity of the Earth. The mass extinction caused by humans already started to affect as we have entered the planet’s sixth era of mass extinction, according to a United Nations agency. It requires almost one-third of the Earth to be protected by 2030 and reducing pollution to half to save the wildlife that remains.
As per the draft plan released on Monday, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity sets global targets to combat the continuous biodiversity crisis in the coming decades.
At the summit in Japan, the convention had set similar targets in 2010. However, the world could not achieve most of those 2020 goals, and as a consequence, the world is now facing unprecedented extinction rates, threatened ecosystems, and severe repercussions challenging human survival.
“Biodiversity, and the benefits it provides, is fundamental to human well-being and a healthy planet,” the draft plan reads. “Despite ongoing efforts, biodiversity is deteriorating worldwide, and this decline is projected to continue or worsen under business-as-usual scenarios.”
The convention is looking forward to a final vision of “living in harmony with nature” by stabilizing our fragile biodiversity by 2030 and helping ecosystems to recover by 2050. But these goals can be met only by taking up urgent action on both local and global levels.
With this objective, the draft plans layout 20 targets for the coming decade, ranging from carbon emission reduction to food sustainability.
The targets include giving protected status to sites that are vital for biodiversity. The aim is to cover at least 30% of these land and sea areas by 2030, with at least 10% under “strict protection.” Cut down pollution from biocides, plastic wastes, and excess nutrients by at least 50% is also included in the target.
The 2030 targets also include ensuring that the trade of entire wild species is legal and sustainable, bringing greater sustainability to economic sectors and individual consumption, and empowering indigenous communities in the conservation effort.
The quality of human life is also highlighted in some targets, which means providing better food security and clean water for the most vulnerable communities. According to the draft plan, these are then expected to reduce “human-wildlife conflict.”
At a biodiversity summit in Kunming, China, the plan will be finalized and adopted in October.
The Sixth Mass Extinction is on Course To Take Place
Scientists have warned for so long that we are going through the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history of the Earth and the first one caused by humans.
Within a generation, elephants could disappear from the wild, and amphibian populations are also collapsing. Climate change is causing the warming and acidifying of the oceans, and threatening to annihilate coral reefs.
As the UN warned in 2019, out of the world’s 8 million species, one million in total are currently at the border of extinction, including many within decades. The global rate of extinction of species is at least tens or hundreds of times higher compared to the average number over the past 10 million years.
According to the 2019 UN report, the main threats are reduction in habitats, the exploitation of natural resources, climate change, and pollution. Since pre-industrial times, humans have altered 75% of Earth’s land and 66% of marine ecosystems in different forms, from dumping waste into oceans to human-introduced invasive species.
The same thing happened to the world’s natural ecosystems, where around 600 plant species have been wiped out in the past 250 years with the extinction rate 500 times faster than it would have been without the intervention of humans. The millions of species, including humans, are in trouble due to the plants’ mass extinction.
The growing population with rising demand is a huge problem. The resources are getting depleted. More is the mouth to feed, but fewer resources to provide the same. Moreover, the planet’s declining biodiversity poses a threat to agriculture, placing our livestock breeds and crops at risk.
However, the population boom will be a continuing major issue. The draft plan warned that the current world population of 7.6 billion is likely to reach 8.6 billion by 2030 and 9.8 billion by 2050 with severe “implications for the demand for resources, including food, infrastructure, and land use.”