After the UN Extinction Report — Now What?

May 6th Edition of Brett Baier’s Fox News Prime Time Show “Special Report”

The United Nations report on the extinction crisis that came out on Monday made a relatively big splash. ICYMI, a group of scientists called the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), determined that biodiversity is declining at the fastest rate in human history, and only “transformational changes” to the way society operates can save the planet from ruin.  The chair of the IPBES said, “We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide. The report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global.”  So where do we start? At a global meeting to be held in Beijing next year, the nations of the world could agree to place real limits on development and set aside a percentage of the planet that is reserved for nature. 

  • In order to pressure countries for such limits, a group of nearly 100 nonprofits worldwide has started a global campaign to designate 30% of the Earth’s surface for protection by 2030, and 50% by 2050, in an effort to avert the extinction crisis.
  • This campaign is called the “Global Deal for Nature” and we reported on it last month, when a study published in the Journal Science Advances put forth a plan identifying conservation areas with significant biodiversity value that could make up the 30% that would be  subject to certain protections, and another 20% of the planet that would function as climate stabilization areas, or areas that remain in a natural state.

In the meantime, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) believes the key is to appeal to the public by emphasizing the close relationship between people and animals.  IFAW issued a report last month entitled “Thriving Together” in which they make the case that throughout history, humans have relied on animals for our very existence (undeniably true), and in order to achieve sustainable development, we must incorporate wildlife conservation and animal welfare into all our decision-making.

Why This Matters:  The goal of the report was to gain greater public awareness of how close we are to a wave of extinctions that would make life on Earth much more difficult.  But the MSM did not think this story was worth their time, and largely ignored it, according to Media Matters via Ecowatch.  Of the network evening news shows, ABC and NBC made no mention of the UN Report — only CBS did a story on it.  The only cable news shows to discuss it in prime time were CNN and Fox’s Brett Baier. Baier began his show saying “Many environmentalists are in a panic tonight over a new report,” but “as in all such cases, some humans say the report and the response are exaggerations.”  And Baier ended the segment with a climate denier who said “This is politics, not science. The U.N. is trying to expand its base to include climate and species. They are looking for more treaties, more regulation. They have identified a problem, they’ve juiced it up, and put themselves in charge of solving the problem. That is called a self-interested lobbying organization.”  We cannot turn this crisis around unless we can counter the unfounded arguments that Fox News is willing to broadcast in prime time.  

To Go Deeper Into Extinction Denial:  You can watch the whole Baier segment here.

Up Next

One Weird Thing: Park Closes So Florida Water Snakes Can Get It On

One Weird Thing: Park Closes So Florida Water Snakes Can Get It On

In the weirdest Valentine’s Day news ever, the city of Lakeland, Florida posted on its Facebook page last Thursday that one of its parks would be closed to the public because Florida Water Snakes were congregating there for mating.  The Department of Parks and Recreation tried to reassure the public that this species is “non-venomous […]

Continue Reading 105 words
Happy World Whale Day — Saving the Whales:  Progress, Threats, and New Hope

Happy World Whale Day — Saving the Whales:  Progress, Threats, and New Hope

By Patrick Ramage, Director – Marine Conservation, International Fund for Animal Welfare This World Whale Day, as whale-huggers and marine conservationists from Maui to Monterey, Monaco to Mombasa measure recent progress, there is much to celebrate. As we assess prospects for actually “saving the whales” in the 21st century, there is also much cause for […]

Continue Reading 265 words
Pablo Escobar’s Hippos, Friend or Foe for Colombia’s Ecosystem?

Pablo Escobar’s Hippos, Friend or Foe for Colombia’s Ecosystem?

While many of us have probably read about Pablo Escobar’s hippos that escaped his zoo, it’s been unclear to biologists what sort of impact the hippos have had on Colombian ecosystems. There are currently 80-100 animals in the Magdalena River and researchers estimate that in 20-40 years there could be thousands. As NatGeo explained, for […]

Continue Reading 549 words