Every year, 13 million hectares of forests are lost, while the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares, disproportionately affecting poor communities. While 15 percent of land is protected, biodiversity is still at risk. Nearly 7,000 species of animals and plants have been illegally traded. Wildlife trafficking not only erodes biodiversity, but creates insecurity, fuels conflict, and feeds corruption.
Urgent action must be taken to reduce the loss of natural habitats and biodiversity which are part of our common heritage and support global food and water security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and peace and security.
HOW ANIMAL EXPLOITATION UNDERMINES THIS GOAL
Serious attention needs to be focused on implementing strategies to slow the dangerously alarming rate of biodiversity loss, primarily caused by animal exploitation, along with all the other industry polluters. We must do away with those Industries that cannot ever be sustainable, and effectively hold accountable those who refuse immediate transition to eco friendly sourcing such as in energy and transportation.
All else of import for the SDGs, including the dire consequences for humans from climate change, pales in comparison with the widespread breakdown of the delicate balance of Earth’s biosphere. Our fragile ecosystem quite literally provides the means for life to exist on the planet, yet that balance is teetering on total global catastrophe. The wildlife trade, both legal and illegal, is a huge disruptive force to biodiversity from all within the illegal trade, to the legal trade of exotic pets, exploitive trophy hunting, medical fisheries and animal lab testing facilities.
Due to the interconnected threats of climate change and biodiversity loss immediate action is necessary to halt the deforestation and desertification for which animal exploitation is in large part responsible due to its misuse and abuse of the biological environment. Food production is a major culprit, with animal agriculture causing land to be taken over for livestock feed crops and grazing, and primary forests and wildlife habitats being disturbed and destroyed, decimating biodiversity.
To maintain soil productivity, starting in the 1950’s with the advent of intensive animal farming and mono crops, use of nitrogen enhanced fertilizers for grain crops has resulted in soil degradation, contributing to soil erosion. Thus leading to flooding which further washes away topsoil, filtering nitrates and harmful bacteria from manure and chemical waste into above and below groundwater, eventually sifting into the underground aquifers. Insecticides, including bee-killing neonicotinoids, are decimating insect populations, on which reptiles, amphibians, birds and small mammals depend. The loss of the smallest life forms that support biological landscapes pulls the rug out from the larger herbivore and predator species, which in turn destabilizes critically important ecosystems.
Goal 15 : Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (United Nations website)
“The 15 Worst Companies For The Planet” – The worst companies for the planet, as determined by Newsweek, are mostly utilities. It’s hard to live without electricity. One of the few exceptions is ConAgra (#4), the giant packaged food company. Jay Yarow Sep 23, 2009, 8:38 AM – https://www.businessinsider.com
“Threats to Biodiversity” – Ecosystem conversion and ecosystem degradation contribute to habitat fragmentation. Habitat loss from exploitation of resources, agricultural conversion, and urbanization is the largest factor contributing to the loss of biodiversity. – https://www.naturetrust.bc.ca
The age of extinction “Top scientists warn of ‘ghastly future of mass extinction’ and climate disruption” – “The scale of the threats to the biosphere and all its life forms – including humanity – is in fact so great that it is difficult to grasp for even well-informed experts,” they write in a report in Frontiers in Conservation Science which references more than 150 studies detailing the world’s major environmental challenges. content Phoebe Weston, @phoeb0, Wed 13 Jan 2021 – https://www.theguardian.com/environment
The age of extinction “’Tip of the iceberg’: is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?” – As habitat and biodiversity loss increase globally, the coronavirus outbreak may be just the beginning of mass pandemics. “We cut the trees; we kill the animals or cage them and send them to markets. We disrupt ecosystems, and we shake viruses loose from their natural hosts. When that happens, they need a new host. Often, we are it.” March 18, 2020 – https://www.theguardian.com
SCIENCE “Global wildlife trade causes decline of species abundance: study” – The scientists, including those from the University of Sheffield in the UK found that wildlife trade is causing declines of around 62% in the abundance of species, with endangered species suffering losses of over 80%. “Thousands of species are traded for pets, traditional medicines, and luxury foods, but how this impacts species’ abundances in the wild was unknown,” PTI, LONDON, FEBRUARY 17, 2021 12:30 IST, UPDATED: FEBRUARY 17, 2021 12:32 IST – https://www.thehindu.com
News “There’s an ecosystem beneath your feet—and it needs protection, new report says” – Reach down and scoop up some soil. Cupped in your hands may be 5000 different kinds of creatures—and as many individual cells as there are humans on the globe. Soil is a mix of organic material, minerals, gases, and other components that provide the substrate for plants to grow. About 40% of all animals find food, shelter, or refuge in soil during part of their life cycle. By Elizabeth PennisiDec. 4, 2020 , 4:00 AM – https://www.sciencemag.org
“A Brief History of Our Deadly Addiction to Nitrogen Fertilizer” – Industrial agriculture’s reliance on plentiful synthetic nitrogen brings with it a whole bevy of environmental liabilities: excess nitrogen that seeps into streams and eventually into the Mississippi River, feeding a massive annual algae bloom that blots out sea life; emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon; and the destruction of organic matter in soil. By Tom Phipott
April 19, 2013 – https://www.motherjones.com
The briefing “What is biodiversity and why does it matter to us?” – At the moment, we don’t know how much biodiversity the planet can lose without prompting widespread ecological collapse. But one approach has assessed so-called “planetary boundaries”, thresholds in Earth systems that define a “safe operating space for humanity”. Of the nine considered, just biodiversity loss and nitrogen pollution are estimated to have been crossed, unlike CO2 levels, freshwater used and ozone losses. by Damian Carrington Environment editor, March 12, 2018 – https://www.theguardian.com