Humans are literally screwing up the earth- Know How? - Seeker's Thoughts

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Monday, 24 June 2019

Humans are literally screwing up the earth- Know How?

Save-the-earth

Humans have a tendency of claiming - their superiority and as if the earth was created only for them. Humans drain resources faster than the earth can generate, and threaten the nature the most. 
 
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How many species are at risk?

Nature is in trouble. Therefore, humans are in trouble and every other species of the planet. This is not surprising that up to 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species on Earth are at risk of extinction- many of them within a decade.

 The threatened list includes more than 40% of amphibian’s species, almost 33 of reef-forming corals, and more than third of all marine mammals. The picture was less clear for insect species, but a tentative estimate suggests 10% are at risk of extinction. This was according to the UN's scientists and researchers who published a Global Assessment report published on 6th May 2019.

Based on a review of about 15,000 scientific and government sources and compiles by 145 expert authors from 50 countries, the Global report is the comprehensive look in 15 years at the state of the planet’s biodiversity.

The report includes, for the first time, indigenous and local knowledge as scientific studies. Scientists and authors found overwhelming evidence that human activities are behind nature’s decline.

The bonds that hold nature together may be at risk of unraveling from deforestation, overfishing, development, bushmeat hunting and poaching and other human activities.


The warming climate is major driver that is exacerbating the effects of overfishing, widespread pesticide use, pollution and urban expansion into the natural world.

For example, ocean ecosystem is degrading as temperature rise toward 2 degree Celsius - 3.6-degree Fahrenheit -- above preindustrial levels, the study warns. Coral reefs lost to warming and acidifying oceans could cause a collapse in commercial and indigenous fisheries, affecting billions of coastal residents who rely on seafood for protein.

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Once the earth gets 2 degree Celsius, the models show that only 1% can survive scientist stated that - "We are not on the pathway to 2 degree Celsius, we are on a pathway to 3, 3 1/2 degree Celsius. Forests, ocean and other parts of nature soak up 60% of global fossil fuel emission every year. The oceans and land system are truly in trouble."

How does human harm the environment?

The report emphasizes the effects humans have on animals that are key to their own survival. Pesticides sprayed by farmers kill pollinators such as bees and other insects will likely to have a devastating effect on crops.

Homeowners contribute to the problem by purchasing "bug zapper" that target mosquitoes but also eliminate key pollinators such as butterflies and moths, as well as common flies that some animals rely on for food.
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Global trade has introduced invasive species to countries with devastating effects, such as crop-destroying stink bugs and tree-killing emerald ash borer in the USA. 

Travellers exploring forests in other countries have returned home with microbes that cause diseases lethal to animals, such as the white nose fungus that is killing millions of bats whose immune system have not adapted to fight it.

In parts of the ocean, some remote tropical forests are nearly silent as insects have vanished, and grasslands are increasingly becoming deserts. 

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Human activity has resulted in the severe alteration of more than 75% of Earth's land areas, the Global Assessment report has found. And 66% of the oceans, which cover most of our blue planet, have suffered significant human impacts. The oceans include more 400 dead zones.

What are dead zones?

Dead zones are hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world's oceans and large lakes, caused by "excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors that deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water.

Impact of species extinction on the Food web and ecosystem

Every living thing plays an important role in the food chain and Earth’s ecosystems, and the extinction of certain species, whether predators or prey, can impact badly the world.

Since the origin of life on Earth, it's fair to say that more species have gone extinct than are currently alive.

The effect a species would have if it were to fade from existence depends largely on its role in the ecosystem. Predators, for example, are often the first to be threatened by hunting or competition with people and resources. The loss of a predator can result in what is called a trophic cascade, which is an ecological phenomenon triggered by a predator's extinction that can also impact the population of prey, which can cause dramatic ecosystem and food web change.

If there are too many deer, for example, they can really change the ecosystem because they can destroy forests, and they also carry disease.

The loss of abundant organisms that provide food for a wide variety of species would also interrupt the food web.

Species like parrotfish, which graze on algae, are extremely important to coral reef ecosystem because they prevent algae growth from getting out of control and impacting those coral reefs. As algae expand on those communities, it can lead to the expansion of coral dead zones.

Without Other Species, the human will also not survive
While the extinction of animal species is part of the natural process of evolution, the expansion of the human species has led to a significant increase in the extinction rate. Because humans share ecosystems with endangered species, human’s quality of life and human survival is linked to them. 

Unlike the past mass extinctions, caused by events like asteroid strikes, volcanic eruption, and natural climate shifts, the current crisis is almost entirely caused by humans.
In fact, 99% of currently threatened species are at risk from human activities, primarily those driving habitat loss, the introduction of exotic species, and global warming. 

Because the rate of change in biosphere is increasing, and because every species extinction potentially leads to the extinction of others bound to that species in a complex ecological web.

Habitat destruction, climate change, resource depletion and other factors have increased the extinction rate by a factor of 1,000, putting substantial pressure on thousands of the most vulnerable creatures on the planet.

Bees and pollination - another species are under threats as humans rely on is the common honey bee.

Bees are responsible for pollinating more than 250,000 species of plants.

However, a malady known as "colony collapse disorder" has wiped out entire populations have already forced some growers to import colonies to their fields in order to keep yields up, and continues losses could threaten the supply of crops like almonds, apples and cucumbers of the different varieties of crops humans rely upon for food worldwide, 87 rely on pollinators, mainly honeybees, while only 28 different crops could survive without such assistance.

How many species have been extinct already?

In past 500 years, about 1,000 species that have gone extinct, like a grasshopper, passenger pigeon, and Puerto Rico's culebra parrot- but this doesn't account for thousands of species that disappeared before scientists had a chance to describe them. Nobody really knows how many species are in danger of becoming extinct. 

The IUCN has assessed roughly 3% of described species and identified 16,928 species worldwide as being threatened with extinction, or roughly 38% of those assessed.

In its latest four-year endangered species assessment, the IUCN reports that the world won't meet a goal of reversing the extinction trend towards species depletion by 2010.

This is clear is that many thousands of species are at risk of disappearing forever in the coming decades.

Amphibians

Amphibians are on the highest list of endangerments. Frog, toads and salamanders are disappearing because of habitat loss, water pollution and air pollution, climate change, ultraviolet light exposure, scientists estimate that a third or more of all the roughly 6,300 known species of amphibians are at risk of extinction.

The current amphibian extinction rate may range from 24,039 to 45,474 times the background extinction rate.
 
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Birds

Birds occur in nearly every habitat on the planet and are often the most visible and familiar wildlife to people across the globe. as such, they provide an important bellwether for tracking changes to the biosphere.

Declining bird populations across most to all habits confirm that profound changes are occurring the planet in response to human activities.

Globally Birdlife international estimate that 12% of known 9,865 bird species are now considered threatened, with 192 species, or 2%, facing an "extremely high risk" of extinction in the wild.

Reptiles

21% of the total evaluated reptiles in the world are deemed endangered or vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN. Island reptile have been dealt the hardest blow, with at least 28 island reptiles having died out since 1600.

But scientists say that island-style extinctions are creeping onto the mainland’s because human activities fragment continental habitats, creating "virtual island" as they isolated species from one another, preventing interbreeding and hindering populations health.

The main threats to reptiles are habitat destruction and the invasion of non-native species which prey on reptile and compete with them for habitat and food.

Plants

Plants provide the oxygen through photosynthesis, and the food we eat and are thus the foundation of most life on Earth. They're also the source of a majority of medicines in the use today.
More than 300,000 known species of plants, the IUCN has evaluated only 12,914 species, finding that about 68% of evaluated plant species are threatened with extinction.
Unlike animals, plants can't readily move as their habitat is destroyed, making them particularly vulnerable to extinction.

Mammals

About 90% of primates - the group that contains monkeys, lemurs, lords, galagos, tarsiers, and apes as well as humans live in tropical forests, which are fast disappearing. the IUCN estimates that almost 50% of the world's primate species are at risk of extinction.

Overall, the IUCN estimates that half of the globe's 5,491 known mammals are declining in population and a fifth are clearly at risk of disappearing forever with no less than 1,131 mammals across the globe.

Invertebrates

Butterflies to molluscs to earthworms to corals, are vastly diverse- and though no one knows just many invertebrate species exist, they're estimated to account for about 97% of the total species of animals on Earth. of the 1,3 million known invertebrates’ species, the IUCN has evaluated about 9,526 species, with about 30% of the species evaluated at risk of extinction.

Scientists and researcher's concerns

The authors have shown concern and identified industrial farming and fishing as major drivers with the current rate of species extinction tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the last 10 million years.

Climate change caused by bringing the coal, oil and gas produced by the fossil fuel industry is exacerbating the losses, British environmental scientist Robert Watson who IPBES, said it would be possible to start conserving, restoring and using nature sustainably only if societies were prepared to confront "vested interested" committed to preserving the status quo.

According to scientists it’s not too late to make difference, by transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigm, goals and values. other major concern is the state of the oceans, plastic, dead zone, overfishing, acidification. Humans are literally screwing up the earth.

Economic and social changes would be needed to curb greenhouse gases quickly enough to avert the most devastating consequences of a warming world.

Earth sustainability under Threat

Today, one of our greatest challenges is to sustain the planet that sustains us. Biodiversity loss and global environment change, including climate change, are the defining issues of our time, with direct and complex economic and social impacts requiring a multinational collaborative response.

Biologists all over the world have been documenting the ongoing loss of life forms. modern extinction rates are more than a thousand times greater than the rates of the geologist past. 

In the recent decade, the population of more than 40% of large mammals has declined and insect biomass has decreased by more than 75% Natural habitats all over the world have shrunk.

This is a new period in earth's history when humans have begun to impact our environment on a global scale. We have seen our forests degrade and diminish, rivers are vanishing and the air becomes unfit to breathe. 

Urgent need for earth sustainability

To protect life on earth, the famous American Biologist E.O Wilson has described an ambitious project he calls "Half Earth". He calls for formally protecting 50% of the earth's land surface in order to conserve our rapidly disappearing natural heritage. 

Clearly, humans must do more to safeguard biodiversity and the ecosystem services that support all human endeavors. There is a need a massive new effort to catalog, map and monitor life, using fundamentally different approaches. biodiversity is largely restricted to forestlands, while plans for species monitoring are even more inadequate.

Currently, world has digital tools and artificial intelligence today to efficiently catalog, map, and monitor life's fabric in a manner never before attempted- and with the potential engagement of millions of students and citizens, and dialects, but also the use of diversity and its vulnerability to change in land use and climate.

Saving more species

Protecting nature and saving species is all about securing the land and water plants and animals need to survive. protecting half of the planet by 2050, with an interim target of 30% by 2030, is the only way to meet the Paris Climate targets or achieve the UN's sustainable Development Goals for the World.


Don't you think that climate change needs more awareness? Would you wait for governments to react? Or do you want to contribute to save our home- 'the Earth'.

‘1 – K for Climate’ an awareness Program 
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