Chris Packham warns that we’re ‘sleepwalking into mass extinction’

Chris Packham in a wood
Support us and go ad-free

Naturalist Chris Packham has warned [paywall] that we’re “sleepwalking into mass extinction”. He’s also called for urgent action to address the crisis in wildlife numbers.

Writing [paywall] in the New Scientist, Packham discusses the disaster we’re facing, and berates himself for his use of language:

To my shame, I’ve not been minding my language. I just said to someone that “we’ve lost 97 per cent of our flower-rich meadows since the 1930s”…On another occasion, I spoke of “a loss of 97 per cent of our hedgehogs”. Loss, lost… as though this habitat and these species have mysteriously disappeared into the ether, like they have been inadvertently misplaced or accidentally vanished. They haven’t – they have been ploughed up, they are dead or they don’t exist. Destroyed is the word I should have been using.

10,000 species destroyed every year

According to the World Wildlife Fund, at least 10,000 species become extinct every year worldwide. This is between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate.

The 2016 State of Nature report found [pdf,p5] that:

the UK has lost significantly more nature over the long term than the global average. The index suggests that we are among the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

The report gives examples of species loss: not just the 97% [pdf,p19] decline in meadows that Packham mentions, but also a decline in farmland birds of 54% [pdf,p14], along with a 41% [pdf,p14] decline in butterflies.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Intensive farming

Packham identifies [paywall] the key cause of these declines as “the wholesale destruction of our landscape by intensive farming”. He says:

There, I’ve said it. I’ve had the temerity to point out the great big bag of pesticides in the room. I’ve summoned the nerve to confront the sanctity of farming, to criticise the system that feeds us, a system dependent on poisons and practices that are destroying our wildlife and countryside.

The authors of the State of Nature report agree [pdf,p5] with his conclusion:

Many factors have resulted in changes to the UK’s wildlife over recent decades, but policy-driven agricultural change was by far the most significant driver of declines.

Bioblitz and People’s Walk for Wildlife

Packham has made a hard-hitting video to drive his point home:

As part of his campaign for wildlife, he’s been taking part in a ‘Bioblitz‘ – visiting 50 wildlife sites around the UK to highlight the nature under threat.

And he’s urging all of us to take part in a ‘People’s Walk for Wildlife’ in London on 22 September:

Packham is right. We should be extremely alarmed about the massive destruction of species we’re seeing. It’s time to take action before it’s too late.

Get Involved!

Join the People’s Walk for Wildlife.
– Follow Chris Packham on Facebook and Twitter.
Support your local wildlife trust

Featured image via Youtube screenshot

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed