The dodo. The passenger pigeon. The Tasmanian tiger. The great auk. The sea mink. Humans have caused countless species to become extinct. Last year, the UN warned that one million species are at risk of extinction due to human activity. And in 2018, the WWF reported that humans have wiped out 60% of Earth’s wildlife since 1970.
This matters, because biodiversity (a rich selection of plant and animal species) is vital for human survival. All of Earth’s species contribute to the planet’s ecosystem. Insects, birds, plants and animals are all needed for food, clean water and medicine.
Luckily, many of the solutions are the same: to protect biodiversity, we need to find a way to consume fewer resources, stop cutting down trees, and reduce our greenhouse gases.
In fact, some say that Earth’s biodiversity loss is as dangerous to humans as climate change. This Friday (May 22) is International Day for Biological Diversity, which hopes to raise awareness of these issues. And there is still hope. Later this year, the UN is meeting in China for a Biodiversity Conference. Scientists and campaigners hope that this will result in a deal to equal the Paris Climate Agreement made in 2015.
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What would happen to the Earth if humans became extinct? A thought-provoking video on the effect on nature. What can we do to prevent the end of our species?
- As a class, suggest things that everyone can do to help protect nature.
- Make a poster for International Day of Biological Diversity on Friday, which raises awareness of the importance of biodiversity.
- Find out more about one particular species which is in danger of extinction. Write a fact file which includes where that species is from, why it is endangered, and why this matters.