London | As much as two-thirds of the global wildlife populations may be wiped out by the year 2020 due human activities, according to a new study published on Thursday which shows that, for the first time in Earth’s history, people are overpowering the planet.
According to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report 2016, global populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have already declined by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012, the most recent year with available data.
At this trajectory, the decline could reach 67 per cent by 2020, according to the report which was produced in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London.
The Earth is being pushed into uncharted territory, with humanity now violating planetary boundaries that act as safe thresholds for nine critical system processes that maintain life on Earth.
Those already pushed past safe limits include climate, biosphere integrity, biogeochemical flows.
Some assessments suggest freshwater use has also passed a safe threshold.
Wildlife are disappearing at an unprecedented rate, with a 38 per cent decline in land-based populations, 36 per cent decline in ocean-based populations and an 81 per cent decline in freshwater populations.
According to the report, pollution, climate change and loss and degradation of habitat through agriculture, logging, and man-made changes to freshwater systems are among biggest threats to species.
“Take away species, and these ecosystems will collapse along with the clean air, water, food and climate services that they provide us,” said Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International.
“We have the tools to fix this problem and we need to start using them now if we are serious about preserving a living planet for our own survival and prosperity,” said Lambertini.