Losing Biodiversity

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Dec 2018 11:24:18


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The alarming rate at which the natural resources are being destroyed cannot be compensated by any human measure. A thing natural has its own rhythm and process of growth and replenishment which humans cannot replicate.”


“A natural growth is a result of centuries of unhindered development by the wild play of natural forces and humans cannot make that happen in a span of five-six years or a decade or two.

 


“EXPLODING human consumption” has caused a massive drop in global wildlife populations in recent decades, the WWF conservation group says. In a report, the charity says losses invertebrate species - mammals, fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles - averaged 60 per cent between 1970 and 2014.  “Earth is losing biodiversity at a rate seen only during mass extinctions,” the WWF’s Living Planet Report adds. It urges policymakers to set new targets for sustainable development.


The 2018 edition says only a quarter of the world’s land area is now free from the impact of human activity and the proportion will have fallen to just a 10th by 2050. The change is being driven by ever-rising food production and increased demand for energy, land and water.
Although forest loss has been slowed by reforestation in some regions in recent decades, the loss has “accelerated in tropical forests that contain some of the highest levels of biodiversity on Earth”, the report notes.


It says South and Central America suffered the most dramatic decline in vertebrate populations - an 89 per cent loss invertebrate populations compared with 1970. Marine freshwater species are particularly at risk, the report says.
Plastic pollution has been detected in the deepest parts of the world’s oceans, including the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific. Freshwater species - living in lakes, rivers and wetlands - have seen an 83 per cent decline in numbers since 1970, according to the report.


The WWF calls for “a new global deal for nature and people” similar to the 2015 Paris agreement to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “Decision makers at every level need to make the right political, financial and consumer choices to achieve the vision that humanity and nature thrive in harmony on our only planet,” the report says. From the above report, it can be safely derived that we are not doing enough to replenish what we have lost in the last three decades.


The alarming rate at which the natural resources are being destroyed cannot be compensated by any human measure. A thing natural has its own rhythm and process of growth and replenishment which humans cannot replicate. A natural growth is a result of centuries of unhindered development by the wild play of natural forces and humans cannot make that happen in a span of five-six years or a decade or two. This is why it is getting difficult to manage our depleting resources juxtaposed against ever-growing human needs. Human population globally is growing rapidly and there is continual pressure on natural resources, which are simply baulking under pressure. Since we cannot effectively put a full stop on human population explosion, the only way out is to strike the right balance between human needs and his unbridled greed to garner more for himself.


We need to know how much to harness nature and where to stop it’s fleecing. We need to decide how much we really need beyond which we should not tread so that nature co-exists with us. If nature is destroyed, humanity will perish. The heightened intensity and frequency of natural calamities like droughts, floods, forest fires, cold and heat waves, landslides and cyclones point towards a decidedly deteriorating trend that is only going to worsen.


The wisdom is in peaceful and successful co-existence. Humans have to give adequate space and respect to nature and abide by its laws. Stomping on it and bulldozing it for our own narrow goals and luxuries is only going to come back on us with vengeance— and that has already started happening in various forms and intensities. The problem is there is no global consensus yet on the ways to tackle environmental degradation. Countries spar over petty issues in every world summit called to find some common grounds, while missing or relegating the bigger picture. Every leader sees his interests in keeping the electorate happy and shies from taking tough decisions that pose an inconvenience to them. Therefore no country stands out and takes the lead in setting a trend that can be called a departure from the tradition or iconoclastic. We take piecemeal measures in smaller tranches that make little impact on nature as a whole. In contrast, human plunder is much more systematic, organised and rapid, giving little time and scope for depleted nature to recuperate.


Environment laws are not strictly implemented and it is the easiest to bypass and manipulate environment laws because, first nature cannot speak for itself and second, most of the destruction is caused by big companies and musclemen who are not easy to be trapped because of their influence and heft.


The picture is somewhat similar in most countries but in India, the violations are more glaring and unstoppable. For one, here domination and clout of leaders and musclemen are more complete and ruthless. Second, people are unaware and careless of environment needs and poverty makes them complicit to several violations. Third, the population is huge in India, which willy-nilly lends pressure on limited resources. Conversely, it is also true that being a country with a bursting population, India more than any other country needs to have her environment coordinates right. And given the large-scale ignorance, illiteracy and recklessness of the people coupled with tardy government processes, legal delays and the accompanying corruption, it is a tough call to bring about changes for sustainable development in India with the rapidity that we need it.


We are already running late in taking cognisance of the environmental impact of our actions and if we further delay action, we will have ourselves to be blamed. The present government has for the first time taken the matter seriously and is trying out novel options like shifting to e-vehicles and promoting public transport use, setting up solar power plants etc.


But the target should be to keep the focus sustained and momentum maintained because our traditional bane is that our alacrity and intensity fizzles in time as our priorities and goalposts keep shifting. We have to have a more targeted and time-bound approach to make things happen, without leaving schemes and dreams midway, because it is simply a question of our survival and what we leave behind for our children.


By the way, there is too little a window to manoeuvre now. We have to make the best use of our available technology and resources to tame unbridled exploitation of the environment and even if we cannot resurrect what is lost, we should at least try to protect and save whatever remains for our progeny.