Save Half the Planet, or Lose It All

Save Half the Planet, or Lose It All

Press on the Nature Needs Half launch, written by Stephen Leahy on IPS news. MÉRIDA, Mexico, Nov 17, 2009 (IPS) – At least half the planet must be protected if humanity is to survive the next century, declared conservationists at the conclusion of 9th World Wilderness Congress on Friday, Nov. 13. “That is what the science said, this is what many aboriginal people say,” said Harvey Locke, the Wild Foundation’s vice president of conservation strategy. “It’s time to speak the simple truth: The whole thing unravels without protecting at least half of the planet,” said Locke. A leading economic report released in Brussels also on Nov. 13 pegged the cost of the ongoing loss and degradation of nature’s “infrastructure” at a staggering 2.5 trillion to 4.5 trillion dollars a year. The enormous challenges humanity faces this century – like a warming planet, freshwater shortages, pollution, declining fisheries, desertification and unsustainable food production – cannot be solved without protecting more than 50 percent of Earth’s land and oceans, Locke told IPS. Protection doesn’t necessarily mean more national parks, but a ban on resource extraction and all forms of development. “We all know we aren’t sustainably managing the Earth,” he told participants at the WILD9 congress, a partnership between the WILD Foundation, an international, non-governmental non-profit based in the United States, and Unidos para la Conservación, a conservation organisation in Mexico. “It is time for us to state clearly the scale of conservation intervention needed to make the 21st century one of hope instead of despair,” he said. This ambitious vision is based on the current science, said eminent conservation scientist...
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