Human race ‘faces catastrophe’ as a million species face extinction

Protests have been held over climate change. PA image.
Protests have been held over climate change. PA image.
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World leaders are being urged to take bold action to save the natural world after a global report warned that humanity is under threat as a million species face extinction.

UK campaigners have urged the Government to step up with a “huge boost” to nature and conserve threatened species from skylarks and small blue butterflies to bees, hedgehogs and wildcats.

The calls come as a UN-backed global assessment of the state of nature, the most comprehensive of its kind, is expected to warn of the scale of extinction and damage to the natural world.

Today the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) will be publish a 1,800-page scientific study which has taken three years and drew on thousands of pieces of evidence.

Almost 600 conservation experts have signed a “Call4Nature” open letter initiated by wildlife charity WWF which is being published in national newspapers around the world ahead of the publication of the report.

Among those signing up to the call include wildlife campaigner Jane Goodall, television presenter Chris Packham, TV chef and campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and French actress Juliette Binoche.

The letter says: “Nature provides us with the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink.

“We depend on it to grow our crops, to source our medicines, to house us and to clothe us. When we destroy nature, we destroy the essentials on which we all depend.

“There is still time to protect what is left and to start restoring nature.

“But to do that, we must radically change the way we live, including how we use energy to power our societies, grow our food and manage our waste.”

Mike Barrett from WWF said: “We can still reverse this catastrophic trend of nature loss and tackle the climate crisis.

“But world leaders must take decisive steps to restore nature, stop climate change and ensure food security.”

In the UK, protests in recent weeks by environmental campaigners and school walkouts have prompted Parliament to declare a climate and environment emergency.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Climate change and biodiversity decline globally are interlinked threats for wildlife and people.

“Today’s IPBES report shows we must redouble our efforts at home and internationally.”