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UN Calls to Reverse Man-Made Extinction

UN Calls to Reverse Man-Made Extinction

The world must act now to prevent the rapid loss of animal and plant species that allow humans to exist, warned the UN at the beginning of the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) today.

Delegates from the 193 members of the CBD are meeting in the Japanese city of Nagoya to strategize on how to prevent a man-made mass extinction. Experts now warn that the planet faces its sixth mass extinction phase; the latest since dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago

“The time to act is now and the place to act is here,” CBD executive secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf said as the meeting opened, describing the 12-day event as a “defining moment” in the history of mankind. “Business as usual is no more an option when it comes to life on Earth.”

Delegates were told that the impact of expanding human population is destroying ecosystems such as tropical forests and coral reefs, killing off animal and plant species that form the ecostystem which humanity depends on. The Earth’s 6.8 billion humans are effectively living 50 percent beyond the planet’s biocapacity in 2007, according to a new assessment by WWF that said by 2030 humans will require the resources of two Earths.

At the start of the decade, UN members pledged under the Millennium Development Goals to achieve “a significant reduction” in the rate of wildlife loss by this year, the International Year of Biodiversity. Instead, habitat destruction has run rampant. Nearly a quarter of mammals, one third of amphibians, more than one in eight birds, and more than a fifth of plant species now face the threat of extinction, said the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The CBD entered into force in December of  1993 with these 3 main objectives:

• The conservation of biological diversity
• The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
• The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources [For example, plants or animals that have been used by indigenous groups and have commercial use such as in the pharmaceutical industry.]

Delegates in Nagoya plan to set a new target for 2020 for curbing species loss, and will discuss boosting medium-term financial help for poor countries to help them protect their wildlife and habitats.

Fore more, see the Convention on Biological Diversity.

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Read more: Conservation, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, News & Issues, ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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12:45PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012


11:29AM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

When I teach Outdoor School, I show the kids what I call the pyramid of life. The base is Air, water, Sunlight and our soil. We then have plants, herbivores, carnivores, and lastly sitting on top of it all humans.. an Omnivore.

I ask the kids if we remove humans from the Pyramid, can the rest still exist? Many of them think that humans are absolutely necessary for the rest of the world to function…and I very patiently explain to them that it is the other way around. We depend on everything else for OUR existence. Everything in our world is linked together. Sort of like the old spiritual “We are in the same boat together. If you shake one end, you will rock the other.

We should be protecting and caring for this world, not exploiting and destroying it.

3:31AM PDT on Sep 25, 2012


3:31AM PDT on Sep 25, 2012


5:55PM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

Mass extinction will bite us in our collective @$$.

Long Pig, anyone?

9:43AM PST on Jan 8, 2011

WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT THE 2011 CBD Convention? Yet another "call" to stop further destruction of ecosystems, etc. and the extinction that will subsequently follow.

Since the start of the decade we not only have the SAME PROBLEMS, they've INCREASED ... despite the pledges made under the Millenium Development Goals statement.

So far all smoke, no fire. Looks good on paper. Whjat we need is more muscle, flexed with courage to implement and enforce.


8:52PM PST on Dec 25, 2010

"The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future." ~Marya Mannes, More in Anger, 1958

9:34AM PST on Dec 3, 2010

Humans take planet earth for granted! Humans in the developed nations demand that earth give them all they want even when their lifestyles are not sustainable! Would they give up their latest entertainment gaget, not even close to a basic need, to save a species? Not on your life. Obtaining the raw resources for manufacturing the massive quanitities of consumer items purchased every year isn't even a consideration to the consumer! If we traced all the raw resources that go into manufacture of say a flat screen TV, plus hidden energy requirements to manufacture and transport the raw resources, on and on. Put it on a massive consumer driven scale. We would see how destructive our consumer driven lifestyles really are! We DON'T EVEN KNOW IT! Or want to. What chance do animals have of surviving habitat intrusion, habitat destruction, pollution, ever increasing human population? Not much, not much at all.

10:12AM PST on Dec 2, 2010

Thank you.

4:03PM PST on Nov 16, 2010

Everyone living on this planet has to be made aware just how important it is to preserve all habitats! We must start to build upwards instead of loosing lands to sprawling cities, to develope more recycled materials to build with. Mother earth is being raped!

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