Global vertebrate populations have fallen by 60 per cent since 1970 as human activity destroys their natural habitats in grasslands, forests, waterways and oceans, the organisation said in the Living Planet Report 2018. The Living Planet Report shows that if we do not change the way we value our natural surroundings, we are going to lose these species and ecosystems forever.
The WWF's report comes just weeks after a United Nations report on climate change warned that global temperatures are rising quickly, and risk rising to 1.5 degrees, which would wipe out most of the planet's coral reefs and cause severe heatwaves.
Tanya Steele, Chief Executive at WWF said: "We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it".
Mangroves, for example, trap nearly five times more carbon than tropical forests; crops partially pollinated by animals account for 35 per cent of the world's food production; and coral reefs protect around 200 million people against storm surges, according to the report.
"With the upcoming European Union elections and the resulting renewal of key decision-making bodies, Europe has the opportunity to revive its global leadership on climate change and nature conservation", Asin said.
Humanity and the way we feed, fuel and finance our societies and economies is pushing nature and the services that power and sustain us to the brink, according to WWF's Living Planet Report 2018 (LPR 2018). Barrett also said that this decimation is jeopardizing the future of humanity. Together, we must mobilize public and private actors to show greater action and ambition to reverse the devastating trend of biodiversity loss.
More than 4,000 species have declined between 1970 and 2014, the most recent available data. 'There is a limit to what we can destroy, and there is a minimum amount of nature that we need to preserve, ' Lambertini added, noting in the study that the global community has a 'rapidly closing window for action'. A global deal for nature, similar to the Paris Climate Agreement, can ensure that effective conservation methods continue, and more ambitious goals are set.
Since 1998 the Living Planet Report, a science-based assessment of the health of our planet, has been tracking the state of global biodiversity. "It's not just elephants, freshwater dolphins and rhinos, but Canadian wildlife too", Megan Leslie, WWF-Canada president and CEO, said in a release. It has also highlighted the Agriculture Ministry's submission to a parliamentary committee that productivity of major crops could decrease by 10 to 40% by 2100 unless agriculture adapts to climate change impacts.
There is time, however, to intervene and stem some of the losses, the report's authors say.
The benefits provided by wildlife and nature are not just things that are "nice to have", the report's authors stress.
"When you lose biodiversity and world becomes biologically and aesthetically a poorer place", Keith Somerville, a professor in human-wildlife conflict at Kent University, told NBC News.