Ummm, Has Anyone Seen Half of the World’s Wildlife Anywhere?
Well, this has been an absolutely horrific week for news. Frictions in the Middle East are getting worse, Ebola has arrived in the United States, and Michael Phelps—the only person’s swimming ability you have ever taken interest in—has been arrested for DUI. Oh, and also, half of the world’s wildlife has been depleted in the past forty years.
“Half? As in 50%? In forty years?” you maybe asking yourself as you read this. “ That number seems crazy!”
You’re right! According the World Wildlife Fund’s study, “The Living Planet Report,” we’ve actually lost 52% of the animal life on Earth in forty years! Oh, and this is only concerning the population sizes of vertebrate species: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
This report is based on data collected from several different organizations such as the Zoological Society of London, Global Footprint Network, and of course the World Wildlife Foundation and spans the years between 1970-2010. As Director General of WWF International puts it, “In less than two human generations, population sizes of vertebrate species have dropped in half.”
Let us think of it another way: In 1970, Paul McCartney released a statement on the heels of his first solo record that he was leaving The Beatles. Below is a photo of Paul McCartney from that time:
Aww, look at him, he was trying so hard with that beard!
And here is a photo of Macca from 2010
Dear Lord, does this man not age?
In the past forty years, Paul McCartney has defended himself against the ravages of aging approximately one million times more successfully than we have protected half of the wildlife on this planet. And there is absolutely no doubt among the experts within the scientific community as to who caused this dwindling population: human beings. Through deforestation, climate change, and over hunting and fishing, we have depleted this globe of half of its living creatures.
While turning the tide of this tragedy may seem hopeless and impossible, Lambertini disagrees: “And it is by acknowledging the problem and understanding the drivers of decline that we can find the insights and, more importantly, the determination to put things right.”
It is monumentally important to understand that we are all sharing this planet. No matter what one’s political, religious, or ideological beliefs may be, we have clearly defined responsibilities for ourselves, our future generations, and our fellow creatures to live responsibly and thoughtfully in order to ensure that there is a planet worth inheriting.
The Growing Homelessness Problem
Unfortunately, the records of homelessness have reached an all-time high in NYC. Over 56,000 people spend their nights in homeless shelters. While most people staying in homeless shelters have jobs, the combination of low wages and a growing shortage of affordable rental housing makes it difficult for these people to afford a home for themselves and their family.
Each night thousands of unsheltered homeless people sleep on New York City streets, in the subway, and in other public spaces. The increase in unsheltered homeless people is a result of the unprecedented number of people sleeping in city shelters. Shelters are running out of space because of these growing numbers.
Council members have urged Mayor Bill de Blasio to increase city resources to prevent homelessness. Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged during his campaign and since he has taken office to make reducing homelessness a top priority. There are ways that we, too, can make a difference. Don’t ignore the issue of homelessness. There are sites such as, http://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/ending-homelessness/proven-solutions/,that give people the options to donate, volunteer, and participate in the fight to end homelessness.