Wildlife Populations Have Decreased by 69%—Here's How You Can Help
The Living Planet Report 2022 from WWF issues a "code red" for the planet. Here's what you can do to help.
"Our society is at the most important fork in its history, and is facing its deepest systems change challenge around what is perhaps the most existential of all our relationships: the one with nature," writes Marco Lambertini, director general of World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The sentiment defined the tone of the organization's most recent Living Planet Report, which details a two-thirds decline in the global vertebrate wildlife populations in less than 50 years.
The report cites changes in land use as a major contributor to this drop but notes that climate change is already responsible for mass mortalities and extinctions—and, if the temperatures continue to rise, continued loss of biodiversity will be next.
When it comes to restoring the balance of nature, the report says net zero loss is not enough—we need a positive gain. To achieve that, our society must overhaul the way we look at consumption and production, from agriculture to infrastructure.
The Living Planet Report also reminds readers that the climate and biodiversity crises are inextricably linked. We are all existing in one giant ecosystem, and just as warming has proven to have catastrophic effects on nature, so will a continued loss of biodiversity directly affect our climate and modes of survival.
"This edition of the Living Planet Report confirms the planet is in the midst of a biodiversity and climate crisis, and that we have a last chance to act," reads the report. "A nature-positive future needs transformative—game-changing—shifts in how we produce, how we consume, how we govern, and what we finance. We hope it inspires you to be part of that change."
Here, three ways you can help now.
How You Can Help
1. Get Involved or Donate
From WWF to the Rainforest Trust to the myriad species-specific organizations, opportunities for education, donation, and participation abound. Get Googling and find a group that resonates with you.
2. Vote for Wildlife
The changes necessary to not only protect but improve our planet will involve major changes in policy around the world—and humans are the only animals who can vote.
Pay attention to existing political platforms. If you don't see a commitment to wildlife, demand it; call your politicians on the local and national levels and demand not just conservation, but concerted action.
3. Live More Sustainably
Ceaseless news and anxiety around climate change and its effects can be paralyzing, but small steps are and will continue to be essential in saving our planet.
Whether it's a shift in perspective, a new routine, or entirely overhauled habits, take a survey of your own life in relation to our connected global environment—you may be inspired to make some changes.
The Monarch Butterfly Is Now on the Endangered Species List
The monarch butterfly is officially an endangered species. Here's what you need to know—and how you can help.
Are Tigers Endangered? Here's What's Putting Them at Risk
Despite being incredibly powerful animals, are tigers endangered? Here's the current status, what's putting tigers at risk, and how to help.
6 Endangered Rainforest Animals You Should Know About
These endangered rainforest animals need our help on World Rainforest Day and *every* day. Here are six species you should know about.