Why are we losing nature?

For a long time, it was still possible to say “more science is needed” to understand how exactly human activities were harming the natural world. Not anymore.

Since the industrial revolution, human activities have increasingly destroyed and degraded forests, grasslands, wetlands and other important ecosystems.

The most significant direct driver of biodiversity loss in terrestrial systems in the last several decades has been food production, primarily the conversion of pristine native habitats into agricultural systems. Globally, climate change is projected to become the most significant driver of biodiversity loss in coming decades.

Threats to nature and why they happen

From all of the drivers of nature loss, see the impact the food on your plate has in our interactive infographic below.

Indirect drivers
Pressures
Direct drivers
Biodiversity
Consumption
Demographic
Institutions
Governance
Economy
Technology
Conflicts
Epidemics
Fishery
Agriculture
Energy
Mining
Infrastructure
Forestry
Tourism
Pollution
Overexploitation
Climate change
Habitat loss and degredation
Invasive species

Destroying diversity for food

The Cerrado region in South America has the richest diversity of life of any savannah in the world, is an important water source, and stores carbon that would otherwise accelerate climate change. Sadly, half of the region has already been lost to livestock rearing and soy production for consumption around the world.

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What can you do?

If we continue to destroy the natural world, we will see more outbreaks like COVID-19, and the next pandemic could be even more deadly and costly.

Take action now
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Read the Living Planet report 2020