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A Biodiversity Crisis Could Affect Billions

By: Alex Yang

People around the world require tens of thousands of species for food, energy, income, and medicine according to a study that finished with a statement stating that humans must make dramatic changes to daily practices to address an accelerating biodiversity crisis.

“Half of humanity benefits from and makes use of wild species, and often without even knowing that they’re doing so,” said Marla R. Emery, one of the co-chairs of the assessment.

The report, which was prepared for the United Nations over four years by 85 experts from over 30 countries, is the most comprehensive look at the pathways for using wild species sustainably, or in ways that do not lead to the long-term decline of those resources so that these resources are available for the next generation.

Species are already declining, though, and only around one-third of all wild species that humans use are listed on “the red list” (a list that consists of organisms in danger of extinction) and still have growing or stable populations. Indigenous knowledge contains some of the best practices for sustainability, since indigenous communities have long had sustainable uses of wild species in their practices, and around 15 percent of global forests are managed as “community resources,” according to a 2021 report.

A good example of this sustainability would be the practice like those used in the Cordillera region of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines. A system that monitors the forest and plants new trees once the older ones age. But it’s not just about the trees, “it’s about the water, the plants and the animals, the microorganisms,” says indigenous rights activist Vicotria Tauli-Corpuz.

Many things will need to be done to support sustainability. Future policies governing the use of wild species will also need to take into account the dimensions of sustainability, and whether the benefits from that use are distributed fairly. The report also mentioned that the fishing industry will need to reduce unregulated fishing while supporting more smaller fisheries.

There is less and less biodiversity on earth, and the findings from the new report may soon have a direct effect on international policy to help fix this growing issue. “If wildlife disappears, our culture is at risk, our lifestyle and our livelihood is at risk,” said Viviana Figueroa, an Argentine Indigenous lawyer, and activist. This crisis will affect billions of lives all around the world, and now is the time to fix it.


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