A new report says the world lost a staggering 60 percent of its wildlife populations over a period of four decades.
In its 2018 Living Planet Report, the World Wildlife Fund cites deforestation, climate change and a rise in pollution for the decline among 16,700 populations between 1970 and 2014.
The report says that half of the world’s shallow-water corals have been wiped out over the last 30 years; ivory poaching has reduced the elephant population in Tanzania by more than 60 percent between 2009 and 2014, and 100,000 orangutans in Borneo died between 1999 and 2015 due to deforestation.
The WWF also predicts the number of polar bears will be reduced by 30 percent by 2050 as climate change melts the Arctic ice.
“It’s mind-blowing,” says WWF Director-General Marco Lambertini, describing the crisis as “unprecedented in its speed, in its scale, and because it is single-handed.” The group is calling for an international treaty to protect wildlife, but says it must be enacted within two years to actually make a difference, due to the fast pace of destruction. (VOA)
A day of worldwide protests against climate change is underway that organizers predict will draw more than one million participants, the largest-ever expected demonstration decrying the man-made causes of a warming planet.
Friday’s protests began across Asia, where hundreds of thousands of students and others took to the streets calling for action against climate change ahead of a United Nations summit on the issue. The protests later spread to Africa and Europe, with huge crowds filling the streets.
In Australia alone, more than 300,000 children and adults rallied with the backing of some local authorities, schools and businesses. School Strike 4 Climate in Australia said the throngs of protestors represented the largest climate protest in the country’s history. Warmer weather patterns have taken a toll on Australia, sparking drought, flooding, more intense brushfires and the whitening of the Great Barrier Reef.
Smaller protests occurred across Asia, from the Philippines to Hong Kong and India.
Rallies are also underway in the United States, where organizers say more than 800 events have been planned, including several high-profile demonstrations in New York. More than 1 million students in some 1,800 New York City public schools have been allowed to skip school in order to participate.
In Africa, protests were held in Nairobi, Kenya and in the South African cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Experts say Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change and the least equipped to deal with the phenomenon.
Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg helped inspire the protests, staging weekly demonstrations for the past year calling on world leaders to bolster efforts to combat climate change. Friday’s Global Climate Strike is the third of several worldwide climate rallies organized by students and led by the 16-year-old Thunberg.
Thunberg is scheduled to speak at an emergency U.N. climate change summit on Monday, when Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to urge world leaders to exceed their commitments to the 2015 Paris climate accord.