Wildlife declines show nature needs life support
WWF Cymru calls for ‘A New Deal for Welsh Nature’ and for Welsh political leaders to step up action in the fight for our world.
Plummeting populations of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish around the world are an urgent sign that nature needs life support, WWF warned today. The conservation organisation’s flagship Living Planet Report 2018 shows population sizes of wildlife fell an average of 60 percent globally since 1970.
The report, involving over 50 experts, paints a dire picture of the state of our planet and clearly illustrates that humans are living beyond the planet’s means and wiping out life on earth in the process.
It highlights how activities driven by human consumption are the dominant cause of current wildlife declines and the destruction of forests, oceans and landscapes. It also identifies climate change and pollution, including plastic, as significant and growing threats. It reveals:
– Only a quarter of the planet’s land is free from human impact. By 2050, this is projected to fall to just a tenth;
– The percentage of the world’s seabirds estimated to have plastic in their stomach has increased from 5 percent in 1960 to 90 percent today;
– Globally, freshwater species populations, such as amphibians, have declined 83 percent on average over the same period;
– In April 2018, levels of climate warming carbon dioxide reached the highest level in at least 800,000 years.
These global trends have been echoed in Wales:
Around 725,000 plastic bottles a day are used in Wales, and it is estimated that only 50% of these are currently recycled;
– One in 14 species in Wales is at risk of disappearing altogether;
– Wales is on track to miss its climate targets and emissions even increased by 5% in 2016.
– Wales has been ahead of the rest of the UK in laying the foundations for action, having passed the Wellbeing of Future Generations (WFG) Act and the Environment Act.
WWF Cymru says that these laws should drive the changes needed and is calling for Welsh political leaders to urgently step up action to protect and restore nature. It says that halting wildlife decline and reversing the loss of nature requires a new level of ambition and action.
Anne Meikle, Director of WWF Cymru said:
“The collapse of global wildlife populations is a warning sign. We are the first generation that knows we’re destroying the planet and we could be the last who can do anything about it.
Wales has a head-start on the rest of the world. Our ground-breaking laws are the foundations that should put nature at the heart of everything we do. To join the fight for our world, political leaders need to significantly step up action.”
Once near extinction in the UK, the Red Kite has made an impressive comeback in Wales. Thanks to better protection and dedicated conservation programmes. Despite this, Welsh nature remains in a fragile state.
2020 is a critical year when leaders are expected to review the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and, crucially, negotiating new 10-year targets for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). With a new opportunity to protect and restore nature leading up to 2020, Wales will join the global community.
WWF is calling for a Global Deal for Nature and People. A deal that makes it socially, politically and economically unacceptable to sit back and watch the destruction of nature. In Wales, WWF Cymru are calling for the following actions:
About the Living Planet Report 2018
The Living Planet Report 2018 is the twelfth edition of WWF’s biennial flagship publication. The report includes the latest findings measured by the Living Planet Index tracking 16,704 populations of 4,005 vertebrate species from 1970 to 2014. Full and summary versions of the report are available here from launch.
WWF is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive. Find out more about our work, past and present at www.wwf.org.uk | Wales: www.wwf.wales