Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, report finds

| December 28, 2018 | Leave a Comment

Freda Bredesen

Item Link: Access the Resource

Media Type: Article - Recent

Date of Publication: October 2018

Author(s): Damian Carrington

Newspaper: The Guardian

Categories: , ,

The huge loss is a tragedy in itself but also threatens the survival of civilisation, say the world’s leading scientists.


Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilisation.

The new estimate of the massacre of wildlife is made in a major report produced by WWF and involving 59 scientists from across the globe. It finds that the vast and growing consumption of food and resources by the global population is destroying the web of life, billions of years in the making, upon which human society ultimately depends for clean air, water and everything else.

“We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff” said Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF. “If there was a 60% 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.”

“This is far more than just being about losing the wonders of nature, desperately sad though that is,” he said. “This is actually now jeopardising the future of people. Nature is not a ‘nice to have’ – it is our life-support system.”

“We are rapidly running out of time,” said Prof Johan Rockström, a global sustainability expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “Only by addressing both ecosystems and climate do we stand a chance of safeguarding a stable planet for humanity’s future on Earth.”

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  • Greeley Miklashek

    I’ve seen two reports indicating that only 1.5-3% of the land-based animal biomass on earth remains “wild”, with 30% us humans, and 67+% the animals we raise for food. So either this article is out of date or intentionally skewed to under represent our impact of the wild animal populations on earth. In any case the real problem is human overpopulation and only a concerted worldwide movement for voluntary one-child families can turn back our population to 1950 levels of 2.5B by 2,100. Otherwise, we have become a plague, like Mr. Smith in the movie “Matrix” accused us of becoming. Stress R Us