In the case of the loss of biodiversity – and specifically this is looking at the loss of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles – it is both the result of climate change and independent of climate change. Much of the loss comes from land use, either for agricultural or other use. The loss of biodiversity not only is tragic in itself but also leads to the rise of zoonotic diseases. As anyone who’s lived through the last few years knows, that can change our way of life and threaten our health and well-being.
Wild Mammals have declined 85% since the rise of Humans
The most concerning thing about the graph below is that the rate of loss of biodiversity is accelerating. According to the estimates in this illustration, while it took about 90 thousand years to lose 5million tonnes of mammalian carbon biomass in the past, more recently we lost 7 million tonnes in just the last hundred years or so.
Biodiversity Stats from United Nations
- We are using the equivalent of 1.6 Earths to maintain our current way of life and ecosystems cannot keep up with our demands. (Becoming Generation Restoration, UNEP)
- One million of the world’s estimated 8 million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction. (IPBES)
- 75 percent of the Earth’s land surface has been significantly altered by human actions, including 85 percent of wetland areas. (IPBES)
- 66 percent of ocean area is impacted by human activities, including from fisheries and pollution. (IPBES)
- Close to 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. (UNCTAD)
- Our global food system is the primary driver of biodiversity loss with agriculture alone being the identified threat 24,000 of the 28,000 species at risk of extinction. (Chatham House and UNEP)
- Agricultural expansion is said to account for 70% of the projected loss of terrestrial biodiversity. (CBD)
It’s clear that transformational change is warranted. No more business as usual. Through sensible policy interventions, we can address and curb mindless consumerism and set forward on a sustainable path leading to a rebound of biodiversity and simultaneously set forward on a path to healthier living.
BOTTOM LINE: THERE IS A BETTER WAY!
- As John Maynard Keynes said a century ago, people of our time ought to be largely independent of our employers for our income – unfortunately, due to “mindless consumerism”, we are not.
- Mindless consumerism is the underlying reason leading to the rise of chronic disease for 3 major reasons:
- It ties us to dependence on our employers and modern day employment is a health hazard for most (in part due to the sedentary nature of most jobs).
- It has led to environmental changes toxic to our wellbeing:
- (a). We evolved in and are best suited to natural environments and instead we live in increasingly artificial environments.
- (b). Overconsumption has lead us to engineer out the need for meaningful use of our legs for ambulation.
- Finally, it transforms workers to work with blinders on – instead of working for the product or service and receiving money as a side effect, workers focus on making money and the product or service is instead the side effect. The results (with respect to health) is that “food” is no longer food but changed to maximize pleasure and extract profit in spite of the toxicity to our health.
- Based on the science of wellbeing one can derive the philosophy that once basic needs are met, “The best things in life are free” therefore —>
- Most people can live far below their means without sacrificing happiness AND by investing the rest, they can become financially independent of their employers enabling them to be —>
- Happier. Healthier. Wealthier. More engaged. Simply better.