How Climate Change is Affecting our Wildlife

Climate change, caused by global warming, is affecting all of us. Our wildlife is no exception.

If we don’t take action we could lose 50% of species from the world’s most important natural areas.

Experts estimate that the rate of loss is between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. Unlike the mass extinction events of geological history, the current extinction challenge we face has one main cause…

Us.

What are the problems? 

  • Loss of habitat

Habitat loss is the greatest threat to our planet’s wildlife. The biggest causes of habitat destruction are deforestation, often for fuel, urbanisation and transforming wild land into agricultural land for food production.

Fossil fuel harvesting also destroys habitats, and events like oil spills cause terrible damage.

  • Higher temperatures and freak weather 

Abnormal droughts, fires, storms, erosion, and other freak weather occurrences triggered by global warming are destroying habits across the UK, and the globe. This is making life difficult for many wildlife species.

For example, the changing seasons caused by climate change are damaging plants and migratory birds. Their growing and breeding patterns depend on guaranteed weather at certain times of the year.

  • Combined threats 

Climate change, combined with poaching, pollution, loss of habitat and other factors form a deadly combination for many species.

What are the consequences? 

  • Less biodiversity 

There are less different types of wildlife in the world than there used to be. This is because of climate change and human activity like intensive farming.

Biological diversity is the web of life. When you cut one strand, the rest starts to fall apart. Crucial species that help to fertilise our crops and maintain clean water now face extinction.

This means that we face a future where food supplies are more vulnerable to pests and disease, and where freshwater is in limited supply.

  • More carbon in the atmosphere

Loss of habitats that store lots of carbon in the ground or plants, like forests, boglands and wetlands, mean that the carbon is released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

  • An unbalanced ecosystem

Our planet’s ecosystems have evolved over millions of years. Climate change is destroying habitats, disrupting food chains and causing irreversible changes like erosion and rising sea levels. All of this disrupts nature’s careful balance.

This influences species that are all interconnected with each other, including insect species that pollinate our food. It can also cause physical destruction of land and habitats.

What are the solutions? 

  • Conservation

Conservationists, and everyday people, are working tirelessly around the world to protect habitats and species. Here are some great things that we can do to protect our wildlife:

  • Encourage biodiverse green spaces
  • Ban poaching or habitat destruction for endangered species
  • Limit the impacts of industrial farming

 

  • Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution

Global warming is one of the main problems threatening our wildlife. Therefore, we need to try and reduce how much we burn fossil fuels which release greenhouse gases.

This includes switching to renewable energy, trying to use less energy, eating less meat and shopping locally.

 

  • Being conscious of what we consume

Paying attention to where our food, toiletries and household goods come from, who made them and how eco-friendly they are is a great step towards protecting our environment.

The situation is scary, but there is still hope. Millions of people around the world are working to protect our planet and everything that lives here.

You can do your bit too! Follow us on social media for eco-friendly tips to help save the planet, without it costing the earth. Or, take a look at out Positive Planet newsletter or learn more about decarbonisation. 

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