Extinction: Is Life on Land Decaying

Biodiversity is declining faster than it ever has before. United Nations (UN) stats show that out of 134,400 different species, more than 37,400 are heading for extinction. On average, roughly a third of amphibians, conifers, corals, mammals, and birds are in danger of being extinct. Seeker noted that humans have been the cause of 322 animal extinctions in the past 500 years, with two thirds of the extinctions happening in the last 2 centuries. The end of the decline is one of many Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) set by the United Nations. The goals will only be met for the life on land if all efforts are united.


The Plans


The COP 26 meeting set "ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets that align with net zero by the middle of the century". These involve the increased efforts to phase out coal, and introduce electronic vehicles, to drastically reduce deforestation, and to encourage investment in renewable energy, such as solar panels, wind power, and geothermal energy which uses heat from the earth's crust, and are all naturally replenished. Developed countries promised to invest at least $100bn dollars to make these changes that would save the habitats, and the lives of a plethora of biodiversity.


The Reality


Forests help people survive as well as animals, offering air and purified water. They are home to more than three quarters of life on land, but are still knocked down, tearing animals away from their only chances of survival. World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) recorded that 17% of the Amazon rainforest has been lost in the last fifty years. The destruction of forest is caused by conversion for cattle ranches to produce meat, logging for furniture and charcoal, and from man made floods through the creation of dams to produce electricity. Combined with natural flooding and wildfires, the biodiversity fights for survival. The animals are threatened with extinction for having no home for the sake of fancy furniture and meat.

A clearance in a forest from trees been torn down
Deforestation

Sacrificing Biodiversity


Professor of environmental law, Daniel C. Esty, found that under current capitalism structure, there is no space for a sustainable future. Under the current leadership based around a capitalist society, the ambitious SDGs are unlikely to be met. Companies are based on money and profit, for the purpose of material production and benefit-cost, whilst pollution and damage to biodiversity have been accepted as expenses to achieve wealth and success. The pollution from businesses causes environmental damage.


Successful companies such as Coca Cola, Pepsi and Nestle recorded the worst waste records, counted by Break Free From Plastic (BFFP). In volume III of "Branded - Demanding Corporate accountability for plastic pollution", BFFP's 14,734 volunteers in 55 countries "collected 356,494 pieces of plastic waste". Coca Cola remained the top polluter.

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After an 18-month investigation, Earthsight exposed IKEA for selling beach chairs from wood that was illegally felled in the forests of the Ukrainian Carpathians, a forest which is home to lynxes and brown bears. The illegal logging was used for IKEA's bestselling dining chairs and seats.


In 2021 Walmart, Costco and other US grocery chains were found to be buying meat from cattle farms that were sanctioned for illegal deforestation. The demand for meat is a major cause in the deforestation in the Amazon, as more cattle ranches are made to keep up with demand for meat at the cost of biodiversity sanctuary in the forests.


Change of attitude to Life on Land


Throughout history large companies have been responsible for environmental degradation that has led to the collapse of biodiversity for profit. Daniel C. Esty concluded in his article capitalism cannot be removed or replaced, instead

"the foundations of our market economy must be reimagined, and then rebuilt",

to work with the environment and biodiversity. The profit over integrity attitude is changing, with changing ground rules. Meaning companies will not spill environmental harm onto others, with many businesses aligning with sustainable development. The capitalist attitude still leaks through as

"sustainability at the heart of business will help companies attract and retain customers and the best talent".

The companies protect the environment and the biodiversity, because their customers' attitude has changed. Companies were forced to appear to value the same in order to remain successful and gain wealth by attractive environmentally woke buyers.



The United Nations leading the way


The United Nations Sustainable development goals lead the way to a heaven for biodiversity, and sustainability for all life. With 17 goals and 169 targets, that all UN members are targeting to reach by 2030, life on land has a chance of survival. Only if we, the public, follow their example.

A healthy forest and trees free from deforestation and logging
Healthy forest and trees

SDGs preventing decay


The environment is key to human and animal survival. Forests and nature provide food and oxygen, and regulate weather. Nature and biodiversity can protect us from disease through dilution effect, as long as we allow high host species diversity to survive. By helping the environment recover, replanting trees and reviving the land, 37,400 species will be saved. But how can we help?


What can you do?


Make the smallest, and most simple changes by thinking about what you buy and consume.

  1. Eat less meat. By consuming less meat the demand for it drops, and the need to make space for cattle ranches in the Amazon plummets.

  2. Reduce paper use, recycle at home, and in the office. A common and basic factor for trees been cut down can be easily reduced by going paperless.

  3. Buy only certified wood products. Avoid illegal deforestation produced consumption. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo represents responsible forest management obtained legally.

  4. Research and avoid companies responsible for deforestation. By boycotting companies still endangering life on land, they will be forced to change their attitude, and methods to a more sustainable tactic.

Without the demand, companies will have no reason to damage the environment and threaten the existence of animals. As consumers, you have more power - the power to decide if thousands of species are wiped out, and the land left to decay, or to be saved by following change.