Study warns we need to protect at least 30 percent of the Earth to save it

A new study is warning world leaders that we must strive to protect at least 30 percent, or preferably up to 50 percent of the Earth in order to save it from irreversible catastrophe that would negatively impact humans.

Climate change and exploitation have put ecosystems around the globe at serious risk for decades and we are gong to reap what we have sown if we don’t act before it’s too late.

It’s why the United Nations is working on a new treaty to protect a large swath of international waters and why Australian restaurants are serving only sustainable seafood.

But the entire world needs to get on board, including the United States, especially if a new plan by scientists is to be put into action.

According to National Geographic:

Countries should double their protected zones to 30 percent of the Earth’s land area, and add 20 percent more as climate stabilization areas, for a total of 50 percent of all land kept in a natural state, scientists conclude. All of this needs to be done by 2030 to have a real hope of keeping climate change under the “danger zone” target of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) and to prevent the world’s ecosystems from unravelling—according to an ambitious plan called the Global Deal for Nature.

The minuscule rise in temperature may not seem like a big deal, but it’s already decimating coral reefs, which is where most fish populations thrive. Without coral, fish populations dwindle and billions of humans around the world lose a valuable food resource.

“The benefits of protecting 50 percent of nature by 2030 are tremendous,” says Eric Dinerstein, director of biodiversity and wildlife solutions at RESOLVE, a non-profit group, told the magazine. “We can’t have a safer climate without protecting 50 percent of the Earth and vice versa.”

National Geographic explorer Enric Sala couldn’t agree more, and he gave an even scarier and more expensive reason why humans needs to band together to protect the planet.

“Every morsel of food, every sip of water, the air we breathe is the result of work done by other species. Nature gives us everything we need to survive. Without them, there is no us. If we had to manufacture our own oxygen it would cost 1,600 times the entire global GDP—if it were even possible.”

Right now, we humans and every animal species have trees and plants to thank for providing the oxygen we breathe. But if climate change and exploitation results in more tree loss, there’s going to be a whole lot less oxygen for the 7 billion people who depend on it. Even greedy oil executives need it.

Sala also says we “have just ten years to save ourselves,” so if we are going to put this plan into action, we need to do it now. And the cost is relatively cheap at an estimated $100 billion per year.

National Geographic pointed out that in 2009 the United States bailed out the banks for a whopping $29 trillion. It should also be noted that the United States spends $800 billion a year on defense. That means we can easily cough up more than enough to save the planet, and it would be the greatest investment ever made. Because money is worthless when no one is alive to spend it and there’s nothing alive to spend it on.

If there is one thing this world should agree on, it’s that this planet needs to be saved. Ignoring the problem is no longer acceptable and we are the only species on Earth that can do something about it. We have no more excuses and no more time. It’s now or never.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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