By Rob Verkerk PhD1 and Paraschiva Florescu2
1 Founder, Alliance for Natural Health; executive & scientific director, ANH Intl and USA
2 Mission Facilitator, ANH Intl
Nature is indeed in crisis, a crisis of survival. And it’s not all about climate change.
Over 200 leading health journals are calling for world leaders to recognise that the primary threat to our planet is not necessarily ‘climate change’, but the ongoing loss of biodiversity.
The global biomass and species abundance of wild mammals has fallen by 82% since prehistory. The 2022 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services reveals staggering losses of biodiversity, including, in terrestrial systems, a 23% decline in biotic integrity (the abundance of naturally-present species), with 25% of known species being threatened with extinction.
The rate of species extinction appears at present to be tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the past ten million years, hence it being referred to by David Attenborough and others as the sixth mass extinction. This extinction threatens not only millions of animal and plant species, it is also the first time in history that the survival of our own species — at least in its natural, unengineered form — is threatened. With a wider sense of self-awareness, it’s not difficult to interpret what we’re doing as a form of self sabotage. Some might argue that’s exactly the point, assuming the point is to prepare the way for a transhuman or posthuman future.
In the minds of many, climate change, a process inexorably linked to excessive concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced through human activity, is seen as the nexus of everything that’s going wrong with our environment including the recent free fall in biodiversity. The two issues, climate and biodiversity, have almost become synonymous in people’s minds, reducing people’s focus and attention on the multitude of reasons—other than climate change—that are driving the downward spiral of different life forms co-habiting our planet.
Arguing that there is no environmental crisis, and that whatever perturbations or natural cycles might be ongoing don’t pose any risks to our or other species, is a tough ask for anyone who is prepared to scour the ecological literature. By contrast, arguing against climate change being the main driver of biodiversity loss, is a much easier argument. That’s because of the sheer volume of data that points to factors like habitat loss and fragmentation, chemical pollution (of land, air and waters), invasive species and overexploitation and accelerated climate changes as highly significant contributing factors. Yet there are other putative factors, such as exposure to increased electrosmog (anthropogenic electromagnetic fields), and light pollution the importance of which is often ignored or underrepresented.