From the Viewsroom

Don’t ignore this SOS

Preeti Mehra | Updated on May 12, 2019 Published on May 12, 2019

Nature’s distress call needs to be addressed

This is not the first warning. Time and again scientists have been cautioning the world that accelerating species extinctions and global warming will have a terrible impact on human civilisation if we do not act fast to halt, or at least reverse the pace of destruction. Unfortunately, when it comes to environmental concerns, governments worldwide either ignore alerts or pay lip service to them.

Last week a shocking report released by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) rang the alarm bell yet again. It noted that native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20 per cent since 1900. More than 40 per cent of amphibian species, almost 33 per cent of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are under serious threat. It identified 680 vertebrate species which have been driven to extinction since the 16th century and reported that over 9 per cent of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still under threat. Though the report does not mention specific countries, India with one of the largest populations, an agricultural economy and a massive coastline that sustains a large marine-based livelihood is bound to be in the eye of the destruction. What cannot be ignored is that the report comes close on the heels of an assessment last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It identified India as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to global warming and climate change devastation. The IPCC report warned of floods, heat waves, water stress, droughts, decreased food production and the very survival of vulnerable communities in our sub-continent.

Unfortunately, in India we have a record of not taking environmental warnings seriously enough. We see the clearing of forests and destruction of green cover as necessary for fuelling economic growth. This mindset must change, and urgent steps taken to arrest the destruction of Mother Nature. There is clearly no time to lose.

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Published on May 12, 2019
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