With the recent release of David Attenborough’s new series ‘Planet Earth 2’, attention has once again turned towards the environment and how we can preserve it. For years we’ve been warned about the dangers our present lifestyles are posing to the rainforests, oceans, bees and/or polar bears. Everything we do seems to hurt some part of the natural world, so much so that some are even wondering if global warming even exists, but with a new report saying global wildlife populations have dropped by 58% since 1970, it seems like the warnings weren’t unfounded.
For more information on the report, click here.
We always hear about the species endangered around the world but we rarely hear about the creatures at risk closer to home. It’s not just the Amazon with species at risk of extinction; the UK boasts its share as well.
Lets take something everyone will be familiar with: bees. Everyone loves bees, even if it is from a distance. Stingers aside, bees pollinate many commercial crops, such as tomatoes, peas, apples and strawberries, as well as thousands of wild plants and flowers which are also at risk. Insects are estimated to contribute over £400 million per annum to the UK economy and without them we would lose 80% of plant life on the planet. For more information about why bees need to be looked after, click here. For more information about why we need insects, click here.
Bees aren’t the only insects to suffer in recent years. Butterflies in Britain, in particular the Small Tortoiseshell (image left), are declining in numbers. Numbers of Small Tortoiseshells have dropped by 77% between 2003 and 2013 due to poor summers and loss of habitat.
Another British species under threat is the beautiful Turtle Dove. Once it was the symbol of summer time but now it resides on the Global Red List for Endangered Species. Luckily farmers in the East of England are working with the RSPB to create feeding habitats. It was the destruction of these habitats that is thought to have been the cause of the recent decline of Turtle Doves.
For more information about some of the most vulnerable species on Earth, click here to visit the WWF website.
In Britain we have the United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan. This is a list of endangered species and habitats which have been identified as needing special attention if they are to survive. It was created in 1994 as the government response to signing the Convention on Biological Diversity Act in 2002. Action plans are set out every three to five years to aid the most threatened species and habitats. For more on UK BAP, click here.
Unfortunately the wildlife in other countries isn’t always as well protected. According to recent research it is impossible for developing countries trying to improve standard of living to also preserve natural environments and produce environmental pollution that would be considered unacceptable in developed countries. The impressive growth in economy and development recorded in China in recent years came about because of rapid industrialisation that did not take into account the impact it would have on the environment. This approach is being adopted by many third-world countries and could have a lasting impact on the global ecosystem.
In recent years USA has being one of the leading voices in environmental preservation in the Western world. However, that may soon change. Donald Trump’s rise to power has brought with it doubts about whether global warming is even real. He has tweeted several times that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.K. manufacturing non-competitive” (- Donald J. Trump 2012). He has also announced plans to dismantle the Paris Agreement, agreed to by over 200 countries in December with the goal to reverse the worst of the damage caused by climate change.
For more information on the Paris Agreement, click here.
Do you agree that climate change is a problem we need to tackle, or like Trump, do you think it is something that is inconsequential to the human race?