We Can’t Halt Extinctions Unless We Protect Water | Inter Press Service: COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, May 31 2019 (IPS) - Global biodiversity loss has reached critical levels. One million species of plants and animals are now estimated to be at risk of extinction. The window for action is closing, and the world needs to urgently take note.
Countries would do well to consider this: our ability to preserve species hinges to a great extent on the actions we take to protect freshwater ecosystems. Safeguarding water for the environment is critical for biodiversity and for people.
Freshwater ecosystems are major biodiversity hotspots. We derive much value from them, even though we may not realise it. Wetlands purify drinking water; fish is one of the most traded food commodities on the planet; and floodplains can provide vital buffers that lessen the impacts of flooding.
The people who depend most on the services provided by aquatic ecosystems are generally the poorest and most marginalized in developing countries and consequently those hardest hit by biodiversity loss.
However, all of us, both rich and poor, depend on healthy ecosystems, so degradation of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity pose an enormous threat for everyone. About 35 per cent of the world’s biodiversity-rich wetlands, for example, have been lost or seriously degraded since 1970. The annual value of the benefits these wetlands (freshwater and coastal) provide is estimated at a staggering USD 36.2 trillion; nearly double the benefits derived from all the world’s forests.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.