Importance of environmental studies

Be quiet for a moment, please, something hisses. No? Such a constant hiss? Nothing? Sorry, our fault was probably just the tinnitus of the huge crash of the collapsing stock markets.

That was not good timing. It takes several years of research, evaluates data sets from five continents, and hundreds of different research reports – and if you then want to read out the results, the global financial market collapses and no pig listens to you.

Three major environmental studies have just disappeared into the black hole in our attention. First, the British report “Climate Futures” was presented, in which various future scenarios are run through, from the slight inconvenience to a total catastrophe, depending on how politicians react to the challenges of climate change. At the same time, the economist Pavan Sukhdev presented the study “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” in London. As different as the topics of the two studies were, the researchers were unanimous regarding the current financial crisis: “Climate change will hit the economy at least as hard as the credit crisis,” write the authors of “Climate Futures”.

Human excess destroys biodiversity

Due to the population explosion and economic growth, the need for food, land, and water is increasing. This in turn leads to accelerated extreme changes by humans. That is why the dawn of the earth is also called the Anthropocene or the human age. However, this acceleration would be at the expense of nature and biodiversity. It has a massive impact on the earth’s atmosphere, the seas, and the ecosystems so it is the time to save earth.

Dangerous huge ecological footprint

That is why the WWF warns again this year: The ecological footprint we leave behind is getting bigger and bigger. The “human resource hunger” is far greater than the biocapacity of the earth, that is, the ability of nature to produce usable resources, to provide land and to mine waste and residues such as carbon. The most important component here is CO2 emissions. To cover the current consumption of resources, one would need 1.7 soils, the WWF calculates in its current report. The main victim of this immense waste is biodiversity, as the LPI shows.

Biodiversity is disappearing

The LPI – the barometer for the global ecological status, so to speak – records biodiversity. It is currently based on data on 16,704 populations of 4,005 vertebrate species examined, from mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles all over the world. For the period from 1970 to 2014, the global LPI determines a decline of 60 percent. For comparison: In the first report, the decline was 30 percent for the period 1970 to 1995. This makes the “Living Planet Index” worse than ever this year. Compared to the last report in 2016, two percent of the animal species went again lost.

Habitat threatened or destroyed

The WWF lists various factors that endanger the existence of animal species: These include invasive species and diseases, climate change, pollution, and the overuse of species, for example through hunting, poaching, fishing, or bycatch. However, most of all animal groups are threatened by deterioration or loss of habitats. The population of mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles in South and Central America has shrunk particularly: compared to 1970, their population decreased by 89 percent.