What Mass Extinction Means For Our Species

May 20, 2019

Early this month the UN's Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services released a summary of an upcoming 1,500-page report, where it states that one million plants, insects and animal species are on the verge of extinction.

This report combined the work of nearly 150 authors from 50 nations who spent three years compiling their findings on the damages done by modern civilization to the environment. 

"There were four key messages in [the report]. The first one says 'nature in its vital contribution to people are deteriorating worldwide,'" says Jim Pease, Emeritus Associate Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University.

"That to me was really important because it made that intimate connection...that if the earth is not doing well is a pretty good chance that [humans] won't do well either," he says. 

The report found that all species from mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, plants, marine life are at risk and declining in numbers at a rate never seen before, and this could have severe consequences for humans. Pease believes it's not too late for humans to act to mitigate some of the damage we have done.  

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Jim Pease about what this report means for our species and our planet.