Scary issues facing our planet today.

By Gavin Edwards, Global Coordinator, New Deal for Nature & People 2020.

5 min readOct 31, 2019


We face a daily reality such that no one can be in any doubt that the relationship between us and the planet is dangerously unbalanced. Whoever we are and wherever we live, food, water, and shelter are our human rights. And to those, I would add a stable climate and a healthy environment. We must do more to tackle the crises we face.

Global biodiversity is being degraded at an alarmingly high rate as a result of the changes in the land use, misuse of natural resources, the rapid climate crisis and pollution.

Our planet is in red — we’re consuming as if we had 1.6 Earths available to us, and the effect of environmental change is wreaking havoc on human social and economic wellbeing. The bottom line here is to stop taking nature for granted!

Our planet is under attack and here are the scariest issues that we are facing now:

© Shutterstock / Rich Carey / WWF

By 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea.

Plastics have been a major pollutant in our oceans for a very long time. It has been estimated that at least 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans and 150 million metric tons flow into the marine ecosystems. This high amount of plastic has an impact on the ocean’s ecosystems and it is a result of some factors such as mismanaged plastic waste from rapidly growing economies. That is why it is important for everyone to support the clean seas initiative and sustainability should be at the heart of the marine economy.

© / Lynn M. Stone / WWF

Population sizes of wildlife have decreased by 60% on average globally between 1970 and 2014 as found in the Living Planet Report 2018

Over one million cases of illegal wildlife trade have been reported globally. The population of animals in the ecosystems has reduced by 40% from 1970 to 2000. Wildlife trade is an issue that has emerged to become the second greatest threat to the survival of animals on earth. This has led to the extinction of endangered species in the ecosystems.

© Mark Edwards / WWF

A land size equal to a football pitch is lost in the Amazon forest every minute

8.8 million hectares of forest are destroyed every year, making way for activities like cattle pasture, palm oil plantations, soy fields or roads. Most of this is happening in tropical regions, where there is a particularly rich variety of life. Threats include illegal and unsustainable logging, overharvesting of wood for fuel and charcoal, small-scale farming, hunting, forest fires, and pests and diseases.

© Jürgen Freund / WWF

The global average sea level has risen by 16 to 21 centimetres since 1900 and at a rate of over 3 mm per year over the past two decades.

The climate crisis that is affecting our planet has adverse effects on human beings. From the past decades, our activities have resulted in high global temperatures ranging at almost 1°C. Carbon emission in urban centres has also become very rampant which has caused the high levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that have resulted in air pollution. It is very unfortunate that the levels of gas emissions in the atmosphere are still increasing. If we do not act right now then we are not sure how far the levels will keep on rising and the major effects that will affect us in the future.

© WWF-US / Clay Bolt

50% of habitat destruction from food production happens in grasslands and savannas.

The food system has pushed human beings to degrade biodiversity due to the high population rate. This has resulted in deforestation, topsoil erosion, and greenhouse emissions. A few states are also having issues with their food security and people die daily because of hunger due to the adverse effects of climate change.

© Global Warming Images / WWF

66% of the world’s population faces water shortages for at least one month each year.

Today, nearly two billion people live in areas at risk from severe water shortage, while 66% of the world’s population faces water shortages for at least one month each year. Growing populations, increasing consumption and climate change will only make the problem worse as thirsty crops suck up water, industrial pollution, and sewage leaks into rivers, and natural habitats are built over.

We have to ACT Now!

We have an unmissable opportunity to create an unstoppable movement for nature, similar to when we come together to tackle climate change. Time is of the essence and we need to act now and set the planet on the right path, we need a New Deal for Nature and People. Science is undisputable and nature continues to decline at dangerous rates.

We are beginning to understand the consequence and must begin to take unprecedented action. Encouraging commitments that are beginning to emerge at a governmental level and, among progressive businesses. Across society, we are seeing an increasingly strident and very welcome youth voice in the last few months. It is time to translate all this knowledge, awareness and sense of urgency into action.

We must stop taking nature for granted. We have done this for too long when instead we must behave more like stewards and wise managers. We fully realize that we depend on nature much more than nature depends on us. The world needs an ambitious New Deal for Nature & People.




Building a future in which people live in harmony with nature.