The Threat of Catastrophic Biodiversity Loss Is Very Real
The planet is undergoing the “greatest biodiversity loss since the dinosaurs vanished,” according to Vanda Felbab-Brown, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution.
This biodiversity loss is being caused by a variety of human activities, a confluence of climate change and other factors, such as habitat loss and pollution. Every biome and habitat has lost about 20% of its species in the last few decades.
In Dollar & Sense, the Brookings trade podcast hosted by senior fellow David Dollar, Felbab-Brown explains that without biodiversity there will be no human life. Our food systems need bees and other insects to pollinate crops, for example.
Felbab-Brown details the ominous trends in habitat and species loss — including the spread of illegal wildlife trafficking, the contributing role of human activity, and the compounding effects of climate change — and why the recent U.N. Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, was “underwhelming.” But, she says, trade that is well-designed, monitored, and managed can give humans an incentive to preserve natural habitats.