(Australian Associated Press)
Biodiversity experts are calling for a shift away from business as usual to prevent extinction of more species.
A new UN report on biodiversity warns the rate of loss is unprecedented in human history and that pressures are becoming more intense.
“Earth’s living systems as a whole are being compromised,” Convention on Biological Diversity executive secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema said.
“The more humanity exploits nature in unsustainable ways and undermines its contributions to people, the more we undermine our own well-being, security and prosperity.”
The report points to Australia’s Bramble Cay melomys as an example of species made extinct this decade.
The tiny rodent was reported extinct in 2016 and is considered the first species lost from climate change.
Other animals that have gone extinct this decade are the Western Black rhinoceros in Cameroon, the Pinta Giant tortoise in Galapagos and the Alagoas Foliage-gleaner in Brazil.
The report calls for changes in eight areas including land conservation, agriculture, food systems, fisheries and oceans, green cities, freshwater and climate action.
Australian Conservation Foundation has pounced on the report to pressure the federal government against its proposed environmental protection law changes.
ACF’s Basha Stasak says the Bramble Cay melomys was one of three native extinctions in the past decade.
“Scientists predict a further 17 species could go extinct in the next 10 years. We’ll never get them back,” she said.
The government has rejected the idea of an independent environment watchdog, recommended by an interim review of the protection laws.
Instead the government is focusing on suggestions to cut red tape and is paving the way for state’s to take over approvals.
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres says nature positive outcomes need to be scaled up.
“If we build on what has already been achieved, and place biodiversity at the heart of all our policies and decisions – including in COVID-19 recovery packages – we can ensure a better future for our societies and the planet.”