Below is excerpted from an article posted today on Counterpunch.

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The World Wildlife Foundation, in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London, recently issued the Living Planet Report 2020. A conclusion: The over-exploitation of ecological resources by humanity over the past fifty years has contributed to a 68% plunge in wild vertebrate populations, inclusive of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish.

If stocks plunged 68% there would be an all-hands-on-deck panic scenario with the Federal Reserve Bank repeatedly pressing “a white hot printing press button,” to avoid destructive deflationary forces. But an astounding jaw-dropping 68% loss of vertebrates hardly seems to budge the panic needle.

The denuding and destructing of natural biodiversity is almost beyond description. Still, by and large, people read the World Wildlife Foundation reports and continue on with business as usual. A eureka moment of radical change in farming practices and ecosystem husbandry is almost too much to wish for after years and years of preaching by environmentalists about the ills associated with the anthropogenic growth machine.

After this opening sentence: “At a time when the world is reeling from the deepest global disruption and health crisis of a lifetime, this year’s Living Planet Report provides unequivocal and alarming evidence that nature is unraveling and that our planet is flashing red warning signs of vital natural systems failure” . . . the Report proposes a new research initiative called “Bending the Curve Initiative” to reverse biodiversity loss via (1) unprecedented conservation measures and (2) a total remake of food production techniques. “Where and how we produce food is one of the biggest human-caused threats to nature and to our ecosystems, making the transformation of our global food system more important than ever.”

Which implies the end of rainforests obliteration, the end of industrial farming, full stop, eliminating mono-crop farming, and “stopping dead in its tracks” the use of toxic, deadly insecticides, which kill crucial life-originating ecosystems by bucketloads, as for example, 75% loss of flying insects over 27 years in nature reserves in portions of Europe.

Additionally, the Report recognizes the necessity of “transformation of the prevailing economic system.” Meaning, a transformation away from the radical infinite growth hormones that are attached to neoliberal growth and development. It’s a terminal illness that, worldwide, is conflated with “progress.” But its unrelenting disregard for the health of ecosystems and for workers’ rights makes it a serial killer.

The Report alerts to the dangers of a “business as usual world,” an epithet that is also found throughout climate change literature. These warnings depict a biosphere on a hot seat never before seen throughout human history. The most common watchword used by scientists is “unprecedented.” Meanwhile, people are shielded from the complexities and heartaches of collapsing ecosystems by the artificiality of living a life of steel, glass, and cement.

How many more 68% plunges in wild vertebrate populations can civilized society handle and remain sane and well-fed?

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The Dying Planet Report 2020


A co-editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a Green movement activist for almost thirty years.