Sucky Humans Are Driving A Shocking Number Of Plants To Extinction
Dear humanity, stop sucking.
According to a recent report from experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, one in five plants are at risk of extinction as a consequence of human activities, including habitat loss from farming, deforestation for timber and construction.
Climate change also plays a small, but not decisive, factor in the threat against plant species. Given climate change is also a product of human activities, it's safe to say we are not treating the natural world very well whatsoever.
All of this is bad news for humans too, so we're only hurting ourselves.
As Professor Kathy Willis, director of science at Kew, stated,
Plants are absolutely fundamental to humankind. Plants provide us with everything - food, fuel, medicines, timber and they are incredibly important for our climate regulation. Without plants we would not be here. We are facing some devastating realities if we do not take stock and re-examine our priorities and efforts.
To put this into perspective, there are around 390,000 known plant species, and humans utilize around 30,000 of them for everything from medicine to food.
The good news is the report also showed around 2,000 new plant species are discovered every year. Some of these species could prove to be more resilient to humanity's propensity for destroying life.
But none of this means we shouldn't make a more concerted effort to diminish the negative impact we're having on the environment, given our survival as a species depends on it.
It's long past time to seriously consider the consequences of our activities, or we will pay the ultimate price.