Is Biodiversity Putting Humanity At Risk?

First Posted: May 24, 2019 11:45 AM EDT

According to the Washington Post, a UN report on biodiversity has determined that humans threaten up to one million species with extinction. However, most people alive today know how complicated and balanced the world's ecosystems are. The impact of the disappearance of a single species across the globe could be catastrophic, so a million could lead to the decimation or even the annihilation of the human race from the planet. Even as we look at custom website solutions provided by Brainbox, we should consider the impact of these new findings on our lives as a whole.

The Anthropogenic-Fueled Extinction Parade

The Atlantic noted that the average size of vertebrate populations across the world has decreased by 60%. While this headline isn't the sensationalist approach that most other news sources went with, the facts are still quite sobering. Humans can be considered the deadliest animal on the planet thanks to their technological advancement and the way we use our brains compared to other species. Understanding that one single species can have such a significant impact as to wipe out more than half of the vertebrate populations of multiple species across the world should be a cause for concern. While we are indeed the smartest animal on the planet, the way we treat other species could be our downfall.

Biodiversity's Impact on Humanity

As the World Health Organization (WHO) informs us, biodiversity is essential to human health, and loss of biodiversity around the globe affects access to materials that are crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, the impact of a significant loss of biodiversity on an ecosystem can lead to a domino effect culminating in the loss of food sources which then has the potential to lead to famine. Humanity depends on the continued health of ecosystems. As species start dying out, it could spell disaster for all the animals that rely on those species either as a food source or for an integral biological interaction. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) site mentions that the rate of extinction for species has gotten to a level never before seen in human history to this point. Are we prepared to see humanity's population decline because we didn't implement preventative measures when we had the chance?

Is it Time to Panic?

Over the years we have been privy to the extinction of species. In 1987, the National Science Foundation concluded that the loss of biodiversity negatively impacted both human prosperity and scientific understanding. In 2010, The BBC pointed out that the loss of biodiversity was likely to damage national economies irreparably. Despite these warnings, humans have continued unabated in their quest for transforming the earth into something we can control and tame. The casualties in this quest come from the animal kingdom. CNN reported the death of the last male northern white rhino, signaling the looming extinction of the entire species in 2018. As the population of humans grows, the impact on the biodiversity of the planet increases, and continued destruction of species at such a rate can only lead to disaster.

The Interplay of a House of Cards

As much as humans would like to think that they are above the loss of a few species of animals, the truth of the matter is that the loss of biodiversity cuts a lot deeper than many seem to understand. Humans are still dependent on the animal kingdom to a large extent, not just for food but for myriad other things we don't see. There are cures to diseases that have the potential to be wiped out before they're even discovered. Food, scientific understanding, even an appreciation for how all the interconnected systems of the world works are all locked inside the study of species that we may lose throughout a single generation. If we do, we may lose more than just a handful of species.

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