Thursday, September 10, 2020

What Does This Tell You? Living Planet Report 2020

A substantial percentage of environmentalists claim that the question of overpopulation has no place in climate change policy. Au contraire, mes amis.

 Let's go back to 1970, half a century ago.

Since 1970, animal (non-human) populations have plummeted by 68 per cent.

What else has been going on over the past 50 years? In 1970 that other animal species, us, hit a record 3.6 billion. Today we're closing in on 8 billion. 

And there's been a whacking great increase in longevity while our numbers soared. In 1970, average male lifespan was 56.4 years. That figure for men today is 70.8 years. In many affluent countries it's now over 80 years for men. The U.S. lags in 46th place at 76.6.

GDP per capita has done even better rising from a global average of $804 USD in 1970 to $11,500 today.

In other words, while all the other animal species declined in population by 68 per cent, our population doubled, our longevity increased about 20 per cent and our production/consumption/waste blew up twelve fold.

It's foolish to ignore overpopulation just because that focuses on China, India and the emerging giants of Africa. Leave colour the hell out of it.

From Bloomberg:

The world is losing its mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish, and with them, the security of ecosystems that have supported humanity since it first emerged.

That’s the conclusion of the Living Planet Report 2020, a biannual assessment by World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London, which records the decline in vertebrate life. This year’s report, released Wednesday, shows that these animal communities shrunk on average 68% between 1970 and 2016. Parts of the world are much worse off. The tropical Americas have seen animal populations decline 94% in the same period. The size of observed animal communities in or near freshwater globally have fallen by 84%.

The authors put half the blame on changes to how we use land and the sea, citing such things as clearing ecologically important forest and freshwater use. Overfishing and hunting, invasive species, pollution and climate change round out the main causes of the global animal population crash. 

The report delivers a tough overall message. It suggests that continued human abuse of the planet may lead to collapse of the very natural systems and resources that allowed global civilization and modern societies to persist in the first place. And, they say,  humanity is demonstrably to blame, and the damage is unprecedented in speed and vastness within human history.

This is one of those critical moments when nothing can be "off the table." We have to come to terms with the lot - overconsumption and overpopulation. 

There are plenty of other reasons to deal with overpopulation. The more heavily populated nations are from regions that are environmentally stressed - water insecurity, food insecurity, farm soils degradation, extreme weather events of worsening frequency, intensity and duration; pest and disease migration. As a rule, they don't have the latitudinal buffer enjoyed by much of Europe, Greenland, Canada and such.

The problem lies with humanity and all its vices whether reproductive or consumptive. We've already taken too much. What hope is there if we can't implement sustainable retreat? 


Trailblazer said...

I can only comment on what I see of animal species.
I see fewer shore birds and mammals,far fewer kingfishers,fewer Ospreys,fewer mink, fewer Elk ,fewer black bears,no Cougars( we used to see the odd one) fewer Tanegers, fewer American Goldfinch, fewer swallows and their like.
On the other hand I did see and within 30 ft a Golden Eagle which is uncommon in this area.
Habitat destruction through logging and over fishing is a sign of our times with the motivation of growth.
At the same time i see and hear of 'all you can eat fish and chips' buffet dining and value packs, buy one get one free.
To add insult to injury we have at least 25% of our food going to the landfill courtesy of a generally obese population!
The same obese fat fucks are the same ones that overspend at holidays be it christmas (without a capital c) gender displays ,that have caused forest fires, how friggin shallow and disconnected have we become?
FWIW..I have no issue with hunters that hunt for food.
Why do hunters still apply for license to hunt Moose which is in decline?
Are the abundant deer no better eating?


Sub-Boreal said...

Thank you for expressing some common sense on this touchy subject.

There is a welcome airing of population questions, in all of their ramifications, at this fairly new site:

Anonymous said...

China illegally fish in the waters around the Philippines and elsewhere in that area while .Chinese Military stands guard with guns to keep the Philippine fishermen can’t fish in their own waters. China takes everything while local fishermen try using sustainable measures. The bullies get away with it while the World stands by and watches. Anyong