The planet we are leaving for our children

The latest United Nations Climate Action Summit has left a clear message: our planet is dying at an ever faster rate. Over the next decade, nearly a million animal and plant species will be at risk of extinction, unless we promote a radical change in our consumption habits and modify our relationship with nature. This was confirmed by the largest report on biodiversity to date.

An analysis carried out by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, in which experts from 50 countries worked for 3 years, offers a gloomy forecast on the economic and human impact on the environment and its almost 8 million species. According to their results, around 75% of the planet’s land surface and 66% of the ocean surface are affected by human activity.

Today, more than 85% of the wetlands that existed 300 years ago have been lost, while we grow 300% more food than in 1970, on soils that are much less productive. Between 1970 and 2012, the population size of wild terrestrial vertebrate species declined by 38% and freshwater vertebrate species by 81%. Likewise, today there are 70% more invasive species than in 1970 as a result of climate change, while 47% of non-flying mammals and 23% of threatened birds have difficulties to carry out their annual migration for the same reason.

By 2050 it is estimated that crop yields will be reduced by 10%, reaching 50% in some regions. Likewise, populations living in dry terrain are projected to increase by 43%, while between 50 and 700 million people are expected to be forced to emigrate due to land degradation and climate change. By that date between 100 and 300 million people living near the coast will be in danger from the loss or degradation of coastal ecosystems. In fact, by 2050 it is estimated that between 38% and 46% of the planet’s biodiversity will disappear.

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old environmental activist who participated in the United Nations Summit, made it very clear in her intervention what is the way forward to stop, or at least slow down, the climate change that is affecting our planet: put Get to work immediately. In her moving speech, Greta highlighted the urgent need for different governments to implement environmental policies to meet the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN for 2030 and thus curb some of the causes responsible for climate change.

Obviously, it is not enough to talk to them about the subject and motivate them to take action to take care of their environment, but it is also important to teach them by example. Placing different containers at home to classify garbage, recycling conscientiously, giving a new use to disused objects, reducing the consumption of plastics and textiles and betting on local products are some of the actions that you can take with the help of children to develop your environmental awareness.

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