Year-ender: Top climate-related stories of 2019 | Updated: 2019-12-24 06:40
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One million species are at risk of extinction

Chile's national animal, the Huemul deer, is seen after being raised and released in captivity to save the species from extinction, in the Huilo Huilo nature reserve in Temuco, Chile August 10, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

Up to one million animal and plant species are being threatened with extinction due to human activity, some within decades, according to a United Nations report on the state of biodiversity and ecosystems published in May.

More than 40 percent of amphibians, nearly 33 percent of coral reefs and about a third of marine mammals are threatened, according to the report. An estimated 10 percent of the insect population is being threatened.

According to the UN report, the unprecedented and accelerating decline of global biodiversity has been driven by changes in land and sea use, exploitation of living beings, climate change, pollution and invasive species.

The rich variety of nature provides us with the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe, and countless moments of personal inspiration spent in forests and mountains, exploring beaches and rivers, or even listening to a simple birdsong in a quiet moment.

We have all assumed that nature would always be here for us and our children. However, our boundless consumption, shortsighted reliance on fossil fuels and our unsustainable use of nature now seriously threaten our future.

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