It’s no secret that humans are completely fucking blowing it when it comes to the environment. Sure, there are the offshoots that are doing their part and trying their hardest to get others to do theirs as well, but on the whole, it’s almost a useless endeavor.
Our entire way of life depends on a whole bunch of things that wreak havoc on our home. The smallest everyday things–that straw you drank your drink through, that five bucks worth of gasoline you put in your car, that thing you bought online–when it’s all added up with the other 5 billion or so people all doing the same thing, its one giant disaster. Despite all the studies that prove that our gluttonous ways are rapidly destroying the one place we really shouldn’t destroy, our gluttonous ways are basically speeding up, and it is nowhere more abundantly clear than in the ocean.
According to a new report from WWF International, in less than fifty years, we’ve killed off half of all marine life. That’s a lot.
“Humanity is collectively mismanaging the ocean to the brink of collapse,” wrote Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, in the Living Blue Planet report. “The pace of change in the ocean tells us there’s no time to waste.”
The entire report is just one long list of reminders of how much we’ve fucked up our planet. It’s staggering, really–we’ve organized an entire society that relies on industries that actively kill our planet, from the oil industry to the commercial fishing industry, and everything in between.
Because the amount of species in the ocean is so vast, past WWF studies haven’t painted an entirely clear picture of the damage we’ve done to our ocean’s health. This study, however, covered nearly 6,000 populations in 1,234 species, nearly double the amount of previous studies, and as expected, painted a much more dismal picture.
Each year, the Living Planet Report takes an indepth look at “the natural world upon which our societies and economies depend.” Measuring trends in vertebrate species, the Living Planet Index, or LPI, looks at population sizes of mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish… and like we already knew, nearly all of them are declining. According to the study, overall, “population sizes of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish fell by half on average in just 40 years.” To be exact, they fell 52% between 1970 and 2010.
The report is chock-full of horrible numbers: tuna populations, for example, have declined an astounding 74% since 1970. Sea cucumbers, those disgusting little creatures that you used to squeeze onto your friends that also play a vital role in regulating water quality and being prey, declined 98% in the Galapagos between 1993 and 2004.
And perhaps the most notable–in our little surfing world, at least–are shark populations. Despite what you might’ve heard, shark populations are definitely NOT on the rise. Right now, a quarter of all species of sharks are threatened. And let’s not even get started on coral. Suffice to say, according to some studies, every single coral reef on the planet could be gone by 2050. Sound a bit alarmist? It may very well be… but I guarantee it’s closer to the truth than the shit big oil scientists are getting paid to tell you. Like I said, we are really, really blowing it.
While I it would be impossible for me to go into all the details of the study here (neither my attention span or that of the internet is long enough for that), I’d urge you to spend 15 minutes reading through the WWF report. It’ll scare the shit out of you.