In barely half my lifetime, fossil fuels and other factors have killed off half the world’s animals
The World Wildlife Fund is out with a new Living Planet Index report, which says we’ve killed roughly half of the world’s non-human vertebrate animal population since 1970.
The main culprits, it says HERE, are overfishing, overhunting and habitat degradation:
The WWF data show that the species declines vary by habitat and geographic area. Tropical areas saw greater declines, while temperate regions – like North America – saw lesser drops. Habitat-wise, land and saltwater species saw declines of roughly 39 percent. But freshwater animals – frogs, fish, salamanders and the like – saw a considerably sharper 76 percent drop. Habitat fragmentation and pollution (think algae blooms) were the main killers of freshwater species.
The declines are almost exclusively caused by humans’ ever-increasing footprint on planet earth. “Humanity currently needs the regenerative capacity of 1.5 Earths to provide the ecological goods and services we use each year,” according to the report. The only reason we’re able to run above max capacity – for now – is that we’re stripping away resources faster than we can replenish them.
Carbon consumption – the burning of fossil fuels – represents a huge and growing chunk of the demand we put on the earth.