1 million species threatened with extinction. Why do we still deny facts? Is it because reality is scary? Is it because still way too many people no nothing about it? Or is it because it’s not in our interest? I reckon all of these, but largely depends on what level we are looking at. On a state level, there is definitely no financial interest to call a climate emergency. It is also not in their best interest to conserve habitats and protect endangered species. Why? Because it cost money. The market level perfectly adapted to the new situation. Just think of the flood proof, floating houses (why treat the reason, when we can just ease the symptoms). Or the seeds sold to farmers, that are advertised to be resilient against excess water, high temperatures, and many more. And on the community level…well…ignorance is the biggest enemy in this fight. We need to change our priorities and learn to value nature. Because if there is no nature, there is no humanity either.
The newest United Nations report found that 1 million animal and plants species are threatened with extinction. That is due to land conversions (such as deforestation), over-fishing, hunting/poaching, climate change, pollution, and invasive (alien, non-native) species. What is the first thing you notice? None of these would even exist without humanity! The equation is very simple really, because everything is connected, let me show you how.
The food web
In a food chain there are primary producers, primary, secondary, tertiary and quarternary consumers, these are also called trophic levels (5 of them all together).
A primary producer makes its own carbon-based material, starting from carbon-dioxide, these producers also known as the autotrophs. Almost all plants belong to this trophic level. Primary consumers are those feeding on trophic level 1. The secondary consumers are animals that eat animals in trophic level 2. Carnivores or omnivores for example. Tertiary consumers eat those animals in trophic level 3, and naturally carnivores on trophic level 5 eat tertiary consumers. As you can see, this is a well thought out system of our nature, and even the smallest plant is part of a bigger picture.
Avoiding the unavoidable?
But it is not just plants that are in great danger now. It is the entire network now. Plants and animals, all organisms are affected by human activities. These species are suffering from circumstances they never should have experience in the first place. Based on a reasonable estimate there are about 9 million species on this planet all together, with only 2 million species identified. 1 million now considered threatened, endangered, or critically endangered. Are we heading towards another mass extinction?
You can now see, that we cannot just turn away from a plant and animal species becoming extinct. It might be grass for you, but it is part of a network. It is life for some. I still believe that we can avoid catastrophe. I believe that we will open our eyes, and realise what we have done.
Beyond Science is a website for all kind of science, and to praise women in STEM. But it is also meant to raise awareness. This website is my call for help. I still think humanity can stand up for our planet, and turn it back from something irreversible. Although we have passed borders we have never passed before, and we certainly turned away for too long, I STILL HAVE FAITH. We have to fight against this, together. Not just for you and me. But for your kids, and their kids. It is not just about us anymore, it is about all next generations, and essentially the future of our planet.