Policy Update

First in Science: One Million Species Facing Extinction



NCEL Point of Contact

Ruth Musgrave
Conservation Senior Advisor

UN Report: Human Activities Are Accelerating Species’ Extinction

In May, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a part of the UN, released a report on the state of biodiversity across the globe. The report finds that one million species are facing extinction. While it provides an overview of the top five causes, which can help lawmakers in making policy changes, the report also calls for a complete transformation in the way we approach conservation efforts. This includes stopping wasteful consumption, reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint, cracking down on illegal logging and fishing, and more.

The Top Five Causes of Accelerated Extinction:

  1. Changes in land and sea use – Usage of land for agriculture, foresting, and urban development is changing species’ habitat. Learn more about land conservation: ncel.net/land-conservation.
  2. Direct exploitation of organisms – This includes overfishing, illegal fishing, poaching, and wildlife trafficking. Learn more about wildlife trafficking: ncel.net/wildlife-trafficking.
  3. Climate change – Climate change is altering and shifting the habitats of species. Learn more about climate issues: ncel.net/climate-and-energy.
  4. Pollution – Land, water, and air pollution alter habitats making it difficult for species to adjust. Since 1980, plastic pollution alone has increased tenfold. Learn more about plastic pollution: ncel.net/plastic-pollution.
  5. Invasive species – Invasive species are non-native plant or animal species that cause harm to the environment, economy, or human health. Learn more about invasive species: ncel.net/invasive-species.