Climate change is happening far faster than predicted, and it’s causing a huge decline in animal life, according to a recent report released by Boston-based asset management firm Grantham Mayo van Otterloo (GMO).
The total amount of animal life on Earth has halved in the last 35 years, and bird populations have decreased by 40%, a recent report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates.
Here’s a chart from the WWF showing how much animal populations have declined:
But all this change isn’t going to take years to shape up. Life on Earth is already starting to look dramatically different. Here are some of the trends in animal decline that have emerged in the past several decades:
1. The number of animals has declined by half since 1970.
Animal populations plummeted by 52% between 1970 and 2010, according to the WWF’s Living Planet Index, which is calculated using trends in 10,380 populations of over 3,038 vertebrate species (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals).
2. Populations from all animal groups are shrinking
Birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals have all seen some of their populations decline over the past few decades. But one group has lost more animals than any other…
3. More birds are disappearing than any other species
There are more groups of birds in the report than any other species, and the number of bird populations has dwindled by more than 2,000. A recent report from the Audubon Society found that suitable ranges for 10 bird species will disappear entirely due to climate change.
There is no room for complacency. The negative effects of climate change are only just beginning, and “it is easy to imagine that in another 40 years we will have springs that are very silent indeed,” the GMO report states.
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