Climate change is creating a hotter, less stable world for people and nature, and making extreme weather events both more frequent and more intense. Many species are already feeling the heat, from warm-water coral reefs to puffins in the UK, emperor penguins in Antarctica and monkeys in the Amazon rainforest – and things will only get worse as our global temperature rises.Find out more about climate change
We all need to eat, but the intensive and unsustainable way we currently produce food is destroying vital habitats, decimating species and accelerating climate change. Food production has caused 70% of biodiversity loss on land and 50% in fresh water. It is also responsible for around 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions. We cannot tackle the climate and nature crisis without fixing the food system.Find out more about food
Nature is essential for our health, wellbeing and economic success. In order to put nature on a path to recovery, we must first understand why it is in decline. Five key drivers of biodiversity loss have been identified by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). They are changes in the use of sea and land, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasive non-native species.
The biggest driver of biodiversity loss is the way in which people use the land and sea. How we grow food, harvest materials such as wood or minerals from the ocean floor, and build our towns and cities all have an impact on the natural environment and the biodiversity that lives there.
The overexploitation of plants and animals, through hunting or poaching for example, is another reason we are losing biodiversity. Overfishing is happening at such a large scale, nearly a third of all monitored global fish stocks are now overfished. If we continue at this rate, this would spell disaster for marine ecosystems as well as more than three billion people globally who rely on fish for their primary source of protein.
Climate change is having a dramatic impact on our natural environment. Some species are dying out while others are having to move where they live due to changes in air temperature, weather patterns, and sea levels. As well as being a direct driver of biodiversity loss, climate change also worsens the other drivers.
Pollution has reached all types of ecosystems, even those in remote areas. Pollution comes in many forms - from nitrogen and ammonia, caused by intense agriculture, to microplastics found in the deepest parts of the ocean. Pollution hotspots are most prominent in Europe where they pose a threat to terrestrial amphibians, mammals and birds.
Invasive non-native species are those that arrive in places where they historically didn’t live, and out-compete local biodiversity for resources such as sunlight and water. This causes the native species to die out, causing a shift in the make-up of the natural ecosystem.