A million more species face extinction

Over the last 500 years humans have had a huge impact in biodiversity. We have been the cause of many extinctions, and the future looks “ominous”, “bleak” and “doom and gloom”, with a report prediction that a million species are at risk of extinction.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service’s (IPBES) Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is longwinded but points to an ecological crisis.

Newsroom:  Million species facing extinction: report

Without transformative change, about one million species are staring down the barrel of extinction.

The projected loss of species is due to human activity, and unless averted will affect the wellbeing of all those who share the planet.

In what’s hoped to be a landmark moment for biodiversity, international scientists and diplomats agreed on a summary of a report assessing the current state and future of the earth’s species.

“Ominous”, “bleak” and “doom and gloom” are some of the reactions to the report, which paints a picture where humans have been the planet’s house guests from hell.

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide,” said IPBES chair Sir Robert Watson.

Eight key points:

1. It’s worse than you think.

Since 1900, the abundance of native species has fallen by at least 20 percent. The rate of species extinction is already at least tens to hundreds of times higher than the average rate over the past 10 million years and is accelerating. Around 500,000 species don’t have a big enough habitat for long-term survival without restoration.

2. Climate change isn’t the biggest problem, yet.

The report finds five main threats to biodiversity and ranks them. Land and sea use top the list, followed by exploitation, climate change, pollution and invasive species.

Three quarters of land and 66 percent of the sea has been altered by humans. Urban areas have doubled since 1992. We’re also growing more animals to feed a booming population including a growing and hungry middle class. Since 1970 there’s been a 300 percent increase in food crop production.

3. Exploitation pays.

Economic incentives often favour expanding economic activity, which sometimes causes environmental harm, not conservation.

In 2015, agricultural support potentially harmful to nature amounted to US$100 billion in countries within the OECD.

4. We take, but only give rubbish back.

Humans are extracting more from the Earth and producing more waste than ever before. Around 60 billion tons of resources are extracted a year. This figure is up 100 percent since 1980. Globally, per capita consumption of materials has increased 15 percent since 1980.

Between 300 and 400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge, and other wastes from industrial facilities is dumped annually into the world’s waters.

5. We are not on track

“Overall, the state of nature continues to decline (12 of 16 indicators show significantly worsening trends).”

“The goals for conserving and sustainably using nature and achieving sustainability cannot be met by current trajectories.”

6. Losing species matters

The claim of impending insect-ageddon may be overstated, but with 10 percent of species probably threatened, there could be an impact on the 75 percent of all crops that require insect pollination.

The negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystems undermine progress towards 80 percent (35 out of 44) of the assessed targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, related to poverty, hunger, health, water, cities, climate, oceans and land.

7. Transformative change, not band-aids

Tinkering around the edges of the problems with technical fixes won’t change enough, fast enough.

The new Zealand Government should note that.

“The report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global … By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values,” said IPBES chair, Watson.

8. It’s not too late

Unless we continue to do little about it.

New Zealand is very much on the map

Last month the Ministry for the Environment published its own set of reports which included grim assessments of New Zealand’s biodiversity.

Almost 4000 native species face the threat of extinction, including all of our frog species, 90 percent of marine birds, 84 percent of reptiles, 76 percent of freshwater fish and 46 percent of plants.

Two thirds of native forest have been removed and 90 percent of wetlands drained. Pasture is now the biggest type of land cover.

NZ’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge director Dr Andrea Byrom said the international report could not be clearer.

“Nature is in peril and humans are the cause. Put simply, we are making irrevocable changes to nature, and we need to take urgent action to prevent such changes before it is too late.”

It’s not just up to our Government. We all need to consider how we can contribute to at least stemming the extinctions (once extinct we can’t get species back).

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52 Comments

  1. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  7th May 2019

    Might pay to correct your final parenthesised phrase.

    Reply
    • Thanks, fixed.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  7th May 2019

        It still says ‘once extinct’ rather than ‘once they are extinct)

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  7th May 2019

          The UN report says that plant species are among those in danger, not just animals,birds, fish and so on. The newsroom makes it sound as if it’s 1,000,000 ‘animals’

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  7th May 2019

            probably 750,000 are ‘algae species’. But apparently they run the numbers by regions.
            In reality its just a beatup in Collusion with those “extiction rebellion’ protests and timed for the EU elections in a few weeks.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  7th May 2019

              I wouldn’t mind couch grass being extinct, or fleas and mozzies,

              I did wonder how the figures were reached. Calling them species does make it sound like animals; I bet that most people automatically took it to be that when they read this, and the table with the little animals does nothing to correct this.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  7th May 2019

    The extinction rate is not accelerating since there hasn’t been a species extinction event in NZ in the past 100 years. Why do these people think they can get away with blatant lies?

    Reply
    • Griff.

       /  7th May 2019

      Yess how usual Alan makes up facts. /s
      early 1930s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_grayling
      1965 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_greater_short-tailed_bat
      1975 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushwren

      Why do these people think they can get away with blatant lies?
      Why do they project their lack of objective reality on others?

      Reply
      • Griff.

         /  7th May 2019

        Of note is this has been pointed out to Alan before
        It is not a lack of knowledge it is a rejection of reality because it clashes with his ideology.
        From that we can deduce that his ideology is based on faith not evidence .

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  7th May 2019

          https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/06/new-species-the-whenua-hou-diving-petrel-discovered-near-stewart-island.html
          Who knew A new species …since you are the one who ‘species counting’. Obviously there are flaws with that approach

          Were any of the species extinction you mention due to ‘climate change’?..didnt think so. Likely they became near extinct before the last 100 years. ( 1920)

          As for ONE species of smelt, the NZ Grayling, it has still has lots of cousins
          “Common Smelt are widespread in North Island waterways, but not in the South island (only Stokell’s smelt are found there). Smelt are found in coastal seas and estuaries as well as in freshwater streams as far as they can migrate.[5] While Smelt are not strong upstream swimmers, they have been found up to 300 kilometres inland at an altitude of 2000m.”
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_smelt

          Reply
          • Griff.

             /  7th May 2019

            ROFL
            It has a similar common name so it must be much the same fish eh.
            No .
            Not even the same family mate .
            Prototroctes oxyrhynchus NZ Greyling. Herbivore.
            Retropinna retropinna Common Smelt. Carnivore.

            Were any of the species extinction you mention due to ‘climate change’?..didnt think so. Likely they became near extinct before the last 100 years. ( 1920)

            The story’s says quite clearly. 2. Climate change isn’t the biggest problem, yet.
            So what was your point with that?
            Wouldn’t be butt hurt by any chance ?

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  7th May 2019

              Not same family ?
              “The Retropinnidae are a family of bony fishes that contains the Southern Hemisphere smelts and graylings.”
              The genera of the family are
              Prototroctes
              Retropinna
              Stokellia
              Prototroctes is a genus of New Zealand smelts containing one species native to Australia and another, now extinct, species that was native to New Zealand.

              hehehehe, its so funny when you tangle yourself while thinking you are so clever…hehe
              Its called a Grayling (for Australia and NZ) but doesnt belong with the usual northern hemisphere Grayling (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thymallus)
              Silly boy

      • add to that list

        South Island Snipe – last sighting 1964
        Laughing owl – last sighting 1940
        Bush wren – last sighting 1964
        North Island Piopio – last unconfirmed sighting 1970s
        South Island Piopio – last unconfirmed sighting 1963

        then there are the “living dead” – species such as the black robin, South Island saddleback, little spotted kiwi, kakapo, takahe, Archey’s frog, Hamilton’s frog – those without known natural populations or whose populations survive only under the most careful and dedicated management.

        Is this Alan guy the local equivalent of Alex Jones? A far-right butt-hurt conspiracy theorist?

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  7th May 2019

          Subspecies are not species extinctions. Neither are those confined to offshore islands.

          Piopio were last verified more than 100 years ago. Likewise laughing owl “largely or completely extinct by 1914”.
          South Island snipe was confined to Stewart Island and is survived by the Snares subspecies so is not a species extinction.

          Of all of those you and Griff have cited only the fish and wren could be counted as a mainland species extinction in the past century and both were in dire straits as that period commenced.

          The fact is that the record of the past century is conservation, not extinction, so stop lying about it.

          Reply
          • I love the way you suddenly and unilaterally qualify extinctions as “mainland species extinctions”.

            That’s how fake news operates – on the shifting sands of butt-hurt conspiracy theorists

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  7th May 2019

              offshore island extinctions are usually just holdouts from the earlier mainland extinction. In a very few cases, the NZ offshore species is just an adaptation of the mainland version because of isolation , as evolution is ongoing. We arent talking Galapagos unique here.

          • I also love the way you say in one breath that there hasn’t been a species extinction event in NZ in the past 100 years, then only a few comments later you agree that there have been fish and wren extinctions in the past century…

            … while calling the rest of us liars.

            That’s blatant abusive behaviour. Deny your mistake, attack the individuals pointing out your errors, and reverse the roles of victim and offender such that you (the offender) take on the victim role and turn us victims of your ideologies into alleged liars.

            Look it up and you might learn something about yourself:
            https://www.restoredrelationships.org/news/2017/11/07/darvo-deny-attack-reverse-victim-and-offender/

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  7th May 2019

              The fish is a subspecies as Duker pointed out. The wren may not even be extinct.

              The simple fact is that the species extinction event with colonisation happened over a century ago with a handful of subspecies hanging on on off-shore islands and possibly a few individuals on the mainland.

              There is no acceleration of extinctions and silly alarmism discredits environmentalists.

            • Duker

               /  7th May 2019

              One of the “smelt” remaining species can only be told from the other by experts when they count the numbers and sizes of scales’. WTF !
              yes the loss of the other ‘vegetarian’ smelt species matters , but in the big picture its not significant as other smelt are abundant and fill the ecologic niche .

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  7th May 2019

        Extinctions on offshore islands don’t count, Griff.
        Your bat: by the time of European arrival was restricted to small islands near Stewart Island/Rakiura

        Likewise your wren was was a cot case by 1900 and died out on Stewart and Kapiti islands while it may still survive in the South Island.

        And your fish was a remnant survivor from the previous century so much so that its demise is hopelessly undated:
        by the 1870s their population had declined.[4] The last known specimen was caught in the late 1920s to early 1930s

        So all of them were virtually extinct more than a century ago with only isolated pockets surviving. There is no acceleration in extinctions in NZ. It is a blatant lie as I said.

        Reply
        • Griff.

           /  7th May 2019

          The extinction rate is not accelerating since there hasn’t been a species extinction event in NZ in the past 100 years.

          This is what you call a lie as you had already been made were aware this was incorrect .
          There have been many known and documented extinctions in NZ since 1918 and it is highly likely that other species we had no knowledge of have also died off.
          Then you come out with more unsupported bullshite .

          There is no acceleration in extinctions in NZ. It is a blatant lie as I said.

          Your argument is not with the story as reported it is with your own imagination.
          Nowhere does the story say extinctions in NZ are accelerating.
          It does say we have many species that are at risk of extinction.
          If I look out the window here I can see acres of rejuvenating Kauri forest .
          Kauri is a ancient species that is one of the mightiest trees known to man.
          Due to die back the entire ecology within such forests is doomed to disappear.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  7th May 2019

            “Due to die back the entire ecology within such forests is doomed to disappear.”

            Have they pinned that on climate change yet. But isnt it a natural virus ‘or something’ …why yes it is -Phytophthora agathidicida

            Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  7th May 2019

            There have been many known and documented extinctions in NZ since 1918

            Nope. A very few subspecies mostly remnants on offshore islands. And one bird that was already in dire straits a century ago and which may or may not now be extinct.

            Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  7th May 2019

    Al is a property ‘investor’ trapped in the body of a…scientist.

    Reply
    • Griff.

       /  7th May 2019

      Al is a property ‘investor’ speculator
      Gee i am a nice guy I fixed it for you……

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  7th May 2019

        Actually I certainly am neither, but entertain yourselves with myths if you enjoy it.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  7th May 2019

          How do you do the strike out thing ? I can do it on an email, of course.

          Reply
          • Griff.

             /  7th May 2019

            The method to strike out text is here

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  7th May 2019

              Me pink

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  7th May 2019

              I remembered doing it in the past, but could not remember how it was done ! Thank you.

  4. Seabird

     /  7th May 2019

    How can they have confidence when they say a million species will become extinct. Where do they get these numbers from? Why not 2 million or 500,000?

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th May 2019

      that’s how the game is played on all fronts..

      The Americas Cup will inject(insert any guesstimate)…into the NZ …economy!

      Reply
    • Patzcuaro

       /  7th May 2019

      Does it matter where it is 500,000 or 2,000,000 it is a big red flashing light, danger ahead, proceed with caution.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  7th May 2019

        Its fake news. No evidence of acceleration in NZ outside of when Maori arrived and caused extinctions from burning of forests and hunting , and the later European arrival when then introduced their own new species and cleared the forests, drained swamps and wetlands.

        Apparently the answer to stop this ‘extinction’ is stop eating meat and using plastics or something. Their answer is even bigger nonsense.

        Reply
        • Griff.

           /  7th May 2019

          Apparently the answer to stop this ‘extinction’ is stop eating meat and using plastics or something. Their answer is even bigger nonsense

          Illogical nonsense.
          https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman.
          strawman
          You misrepresented someone’s argument to make it easier to attack.

          By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or just completely fabricating someone’s argument, it’s much easier to present your own position as being reasonable, but this kind of dishonesty serves to undermine honest rational debate.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  7th May 2019

            Thats what they are talking about- but they hide in fancy words like:
            “By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values,” said IPBES chair, Watson.”
            I have seen my references in other reports:

            We need to eat a more balanced diet, with less meat and less food waste, to take pressure off biodiversity, said Watson. We also need to choose to be more efficient in our water use, particularly in agriculture, and reduce our use of toxic chemicals. We have to drastically cut fossil-fuel use by using more mass transit, electric vehicles, and increasing energy efficiency, because climate change impacts biodiversity, the report notes. Without cuts to fossil fuel consumption, climate change will have as big an impact on biodiversity declines as land use change by 2050.

            https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/03/ipbes-biodiversity-report-conservation-climate-change-spd/

            I see hes got his computer models all lined up in a row -“by 2050”

            Silly boy. Ive backed up my claims not misrepresented them
            -“strawman
            You misrepresented someone’s argument to make it easier to attack
            .
            But thats exactly what you did over the smelts- Completely different family you said. Im quoting you on that one.

            Reply
          • Griff.

             /  7th May 2019

            ROFL
            you as as mad as Alan
            Making up stuff then when called on insisting it is right because you say so even though it is blatantly false.

            Apparently the answer to stop this ‘extinction’ is stop eating meat and using plastics or something.

            To support this dribbling straw man we get .

            We need to eat a more balanced diet, with less meat

            So now stop eating meat means the same as eat less meat.
            If you say so mate …….wonders how duks past year two in primary school.
            FWIW
            Plastics are not toxic as much as it is a waste of resources making shite that is used once then chucked only to hang around for century’s in the environment.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  7th May 2019

              I said ‘or something’ as a qualifier because it wasnt an exact quote but meat was on the hit list.
              A lot different from your silly boy claim ‘exaggerating, misrepresenting, or just completely fabricating someone’s argument,”

  5. John McAra

     /  7th May 2019

    Tell them to get back to us once they have the USA, China and India on board.

    Reply
  6. Duker

     /  7th May 2019

    Heres one for Dunedin PG
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/104614944/meet-new-zealands-newest-fly-species–scorpiurus-aramoana
    ‘”The flies from the genus Scorpiurus are endemic to New Zealand, found nowhere else in the world, which makes this species unique, and its discovery even more exciting,” Kerr said.

    We even have a fly , that …doesnt fly
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_bat_fly. Lucky for them they exist with the Short tailed bat – but not the greater short tailed bat which is extinct . RIP

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  7th May 2019

      I am a nature/animal loving vegetarian, but I must confess to not finding a new fly terribly exciting.

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  7th May 2019

      Someone I knew found a hitherto unknown little beast in the sea and it was named after him. It was a tiny thing and didn’t do much, but we all thought it great fun to have a creature named after one.

      Zedd could have a new cannabis plant named Sativa Zeddia.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  7th May 2019

        Apparently it’s good to trash the body with mind altering chemicals but not the environment

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  7th May 2019

          I would have to admit that a man I know who’s been smoking dope on a regular basis for years seems unlike himself at times.

          I smoked it at university, of course, as one does, and afterwards, but didn’t miss it. But as it was of the joint being passed around variety, none of us would have had enough to do anything other than become relaxed and mellow.

          Nothing in the world would induce me to take hard drugs. Even if I’d wanted to, seeing someone who was not very coherent and looked like a walking corpse and discovering after she’d gone that she was a heroin user would turn anyone off. The druggies around the tube stations would too, I would have thought.

          I have had two bad reactions to prescription pills, one worse than the other. It made me hallucinate and the feeling of not being in control of my mind was terrifying ! I just had to wait for it to wear off.

          Reply
  7. maybe it is time that some folks looked up these words:

    1) POLLUTION
    2) non-biodegradable
    3) Sustainability
    4) Environment
    5) Interdependent
    6) Man-made Climate Change

    just to start with.. the earth is a living ecosystem & there is no magic place called ‘away’ where all the POLLUTION disappears to, after we dump it..
    …..RANT over :/

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  7th May 2019

      have you been to Waihi and the Karangahke Gorge…. the gross pollution and environmental destruction that existed at the era of gold mining 1880s-1920s- ALL GONE
      Not saying thats the way we should to do it. But you are confusing belief systems about ‘eternal damnation’

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  7th May 2019

        The pollution that was around when most people had coal fires was incredibly destructive. I can’t remember how many people died in one particularly smoggy UK winter (1940s or 50s) but it was extremely high. Even the expression smog is Victorian.

        You should see what it did to buildings, it even ate into some stone. I have seen stone houses that were black after many years of pollution (several centuries) and were having water dribbled over them as the only safe way to clean them.

        Zedd, my pet hate is stupid, pointless plastic items. I won’t start on disposable plates and cutlery !!!

        Reply
      • ‘the gross pollution and environmental destruction that existed at the era of gold mining 1880s-1920s- ALL GONE’ sez Duker

        Maybe so.. (after 100 years)

        BUT the worst recent pollutant is Plastic, (non-biodegradable) made from Oil. It is just piling up & up & UP. Even if they dig a huge hole & bury it, the remnants will still be in the ground in several centuries.. leeching into the ground water & the food chain

        There are biodegradable alternatives, made from HEMP etc.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  7th May 2019

          Plastic is ‘a good servant and a bad master’. We are all using plastic computers. My phones are plastic. So are my glasses. I wouldn’t want to go back to the days of glass lenses.

          The rolling water containers in Africa are labour and life saving.

          I have an old Masport push mower and it is extremely heavy. It still works, but I do appreciate having a light modern one !

          I can’t see much point in banning the supposedly single-use plastic bags which nobody I know only used once and keeping the flimsy fruit and veg ones that can’t be used anything like so often*. I do reuse these, taking them back, but as breadbags hold a surprising amount and are less likely to split. I mostly use them. They are also handy for keeping books dry and I use one to keep my wet umbrella from making everything else wet.

          * and plastic bags that you can still buy as binliners. Everyone I knew used supermarket bags for this.

          Reply
  8. Patzcuaro

     /  7th May 2019
    Reply
  1. A million more species face extinction — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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