Unnatural Order: The Human Threat To Life On Earth

A new U.N. report has found that one million species of plants and animals around the globe are facing extinction due to human behavior like burning fossil fuels, overfishing and contributing to habitat loss. The number of species currently threatened with extinction is unprecedented.

The report also includes some grave statistics about humans’ impact on the environment: 75% of terrestrial environments and 66% of marine environments have been “severely altered.”

The depletion of biodiversity would seriously impact human health and access to resources. But not all hope is lost, according to the report.

“[I]t is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” says Robert Watson, the chair of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which headed the report. “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably — this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”

What’s the value of biodiversity? And how can we mitgate our impact on the environment?

Show produced by Kathryn Fink.

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