Current Issue: Winter 2020

    • By James O’Donovan The Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), fund the animal agriculture and fishing industries.  Together these are the biggest drivers of ecosystem degradation, biodiversity loss, soil erosion, water pollution and ultimately poor human health outcomes in the EU. Earlier this year, 3,600 scientists published a paper outlining the ten basic steps needed for an overhaul of the CAP, warning that it was a central driver of the biodiversity and climate emergencies as it funded practices that cause significant biodiversity loss, climate change, and soil, land and water degradation.  But the largest political groups in the European Parliament – the European People’s Party, Socialists & Democrats and Renew Europe – came together and actually lowered the already pathetic environmental conditions in the CAP.  This vote approves nearly €400bn that will drive unethical and unsustainable farming practices in the EU for the next seven years. Greta Thunberg tweeted: “While media was reporting on ‘names of vegan hot dogs’ the EU parliament signed away €387bn to a new agricultural policy that basically means surrender on climate & environment. No awareness means no pressure and accountability so the outcome is no surprise. They just don’t care.” As Greta said this is not a surprise.  In a previous Vegan Sustainability article, ‘The EU Green Deal, Biodiversity and Farm 2 Fork 2030 Strategies – A Vegan Perspective’ we outlined how these strategies called for an increase in plant based agriculture but they were completely insufficient to restore Europe’s already collapsed biodiversity and they would never be implemented. The reason for this is embedded in the very structure of the EU Political System.  The Biodiversity and Farm 2 Fork 2030 strategies are overseen by the EU Commissioners for Health and Environment.  The Agricultural Commissioner oversees the negotiations for the CAP. Corporate meat and dairy lobbyists also have open access to MEPs.  According to Corporate Europe Observatory, “The CAP has been supported by a close network of interests that block any change. This network is formed of a diverse group: ministries of agriculture across Europe, DG Agriculture officials, and the majority of members of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee, have long teamed up with the big farm lobby group Copa-Cogeca and a wide array of food and agribusiness corporate lobby groups to keep the status quo mostly unchanged.  Copa-Cogeca is a hybrid lobbying group consisting of of farmers’ unions and companies – and sides with pesticide giants like BASF, Bayer-Monsanto and Syngenta, and with food multinationals like Mondelez, Nestlé, and Unilever.” It’s not that MEP’s don’t understand that there is a relationship between biodiversity, climate, human health and the food system.  Despite knowing this they choose to vote for big meat and dairy which gets 70% of the CAP payments.  Ecological and Human Health cannot be permitted to challenge the enormous profits of the giant meat and dairy corporations.  The farmers who supply them either get big or get out or live below the poverty line on subsidies. What’s in the new CAP? MEPs voted against proposals to cut subsidies for factory farming.MEPs voted against a greenhouse gas emissions-reduction target for agriculture of 30% by 2030.Harriet Bradley, an agriculture policy expert at BirdLife Europe, said the decisions meant the world was “one step closer to extinction for many species”.  She said perhaps “one of the most shocking and spiteful” votes to environment was that “in the unlikely event that agri ministries are queuing up to fund environmental schemes, they shall be prevented [from doing so] by maximum spends on environmental measures”.A ban on converting grasslands in biodiversity-rich nature-protected areas was lifted, so more could be turned into maize fields, she reported.The new CAP document also deletes “the need for farmers to have a tool for more sustainable use of nutrients”, Ms Bradley said, pointing out that agriculture is the biggest source of nitrate pollution in EU waters, responsible for dead zones and toxic algae. Ecoschemes will fund new spraying machines that could potentially cause damage if used to kill insects and weeds, she added.  This will continue to push bees, butterflies and countless other insect species inexorably towards extinction.Greenpeace’s EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said: “MEPs have signed a death sentence for nature, climate and small farms, which will keep disappearing at an alarming rate.The new CAP explicitly rules out a link with the objectives of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies. In the crucial decade for taking action to avert tipping points for nature and climate, it is impossible to countenance spending €387 billion of taxpayers’ money, a third of the entire EU budget, on driving rather than solving the crisis.  While Europe’s Environmental Organisations have called for the CAP proposal to be withdrawn Europe’s politicians have voted for animal agriculture.  They have voted for Genetically Modified Feed crops and deforestation in South America and they have failed other species and future generations.  The Next Steps While the finer details are still to be negotiated between the Council of Ministers and the Parliament, the Commission still has the power to withdraw and amend the CAP proposal. More than the ability to do so, it is a matter of juridical and ethical obligation for Ursula von der Leyen’s Commission to act while it still can. Otherwise, with decreasing public scrutiny, proponents of industrial farming will continue crippling this bill during the trilogues and the implementation phase at the national-level. Ultimately through continued efforts in education, public protests, by setting up vegan food businesses and from pressure from vegan environmentalists we will continue the gradual transition to a vegan food system and continue to disrupt the animal industries.  This CAP is certainly a major setback. Withdraw the CAP The Withdraw the CAP campaign has a range of well meaning but ineffective demands on this page  It also provides a summary of 40 reasons Why the EU needs to Withdraw the CAP  which does not take the rights of animals into consideration.

    • By Helen Harwatt, William J Ripple, Abhishek Chaudhary, Matthew G Betts, Matthew N Hayek Open Source from The Lancet Planetary Health, Published December, 2019. The scientific consensus states CO2 emissions must be limited to 420 billion tonnes and approximately 720 billion tonnes of CO2 must be removed from the atmosphere to limit global warming to 1·5°C with 66% probability. Restoring natural vegetation, such as forest, is currently the best option at scale for removing CO2 from the atmosphere, and must begin immediately to be effective within the required timescale of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The livestock sector, having largely displaced natural carbon sinks, continues to occupy much of the land that must be restored. Without such land restoration, CO2 removal from the atmosphere relies on methods currently unproven at scale, increasing the risk of temperatures rising high enough to tip various Earth systems into unstable states. This instability could result in the loss of coral reefs and major ice sheets, and increases the uncertainty of maintaining life-supporting ecosystems. If the livestock sector were to continue with business as usual, this sector alone would account for 49% of the emissions budget for 1·5°C by 2030, requiring other sectors to reduce emissions beyond a realistic or planned level. Since the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report in 1990, the production of meat, milk, and eggs increased from 758 million tonnes to 1247 million tonnes in 2017, and is projected to further increase. Continued growth of the livestock sector increases the risk of exceeding emissions budgets consistent with limiting warming to 1·5°C and 2°C, limits the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere through restoring native vegetation, and threatens remaining natural carbon sinks where land could be converted to livestock production. To help reduce the risk of global temperature rising beyond 1·5°C or 2°C, we call on high-income and middle-income countries to incorporate four measures into their revised commitments to meeting the Paris Agreement, from 2020 onwards. First, declare a timeframe for peak livestock—ie, livestock production from each species would not continue to increase from this point forward.Second, within the livestock sector, identify the largest emissions sources or the largest land occupiers, or both, and set appropriate reduction targets for production. This process would be repeated sequentially, to set reduction targets for the next largest emitter or land occupier.Third, within a reconfiguration of the agriculture sector, apply a best available food strategy to diversify food production by replacing livestock with foods that simultaneously minimise environmental burdens and maximise public health benefits—mainly pulses (including beans, peas, and lentils), grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.Fourth, when grazing land is not required or is unsuitable for horticulture or arable production, adopt a natural climate solutions approach where possible, to repurpose land as a carbon sink by restoring native vegetation cover to its maximum carbon sequestration potential, with additional benefits to biodiversity. We propose that in creating Paris-compliant agriculture sectors, high-income and middle-income countries do not outsource their livestock production to other countries, and instead reduce demand for livestock products. Although our suggestions are not a full list of mitigation actions for the agriculture sector, they are necessary to adhere to the equity component of the Paris Agreement, and are considered part of a suite of measures that are needed across all sectors to reduce the risk of reaching temperature levels beyond the Paris goals. We will provide further scientific evidence about these important topics during the ongoing revision of Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement. We declare no competing interests. Signatories speak on their own behalf, and not on behalf of their affiliated institutions. The list of signatories supporting our call can be found in appendix 2. Additional signatures from scientists and researchers are very welcome via our online portal. The urgency of  the above call by scientists has been further highlighted by the below recent research paper. Global food system emissions could preclude achieving the 1.5° and 2°C climate change targets Clark et Al, November 2020 Abstract The Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the increase in global temperature to 1.5° or 2°C above preindustrial levels requires rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Although reducing emissions from fossil fuels is essential for meeting this goal, other sources of emissions may also preclude its attainment. We show that even if fossil fuel emissions were immediately halted, current trends in global food systems would prevent the achievement of the 1.5°C target and, by the end of the century, threaten the achievement of the 2°C target. Meeting the 1.5°C target requires rapid and ambitious changes to food systems as well as to all nonfood sectors.  You can read the full paper here.

    • Matthew N. Hayek, Helen Harwatt, William J. Ripple, and Nathaniel D. Mueller, September 2020. Extracts from the above titled Research Paper by James O’Donovan. Extensive land uses to meet dietary preferences incur a ‘carbon opportunity cost’ given the potential for carbon sequestration through ecosystem restoration. Here we map the magnitude of this opportunity, finding that shifts in global food production to plant-based diets by 2050 could lead to sequestration of 332–547 GtCO2, equivalent to 99–163% of the CO2 emissions budget consistent with a 66% chance of limiting warming to 1.5 °C. Restoration of native ecosystems, including forests, is a land-based option for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) removal. Ecosystem restoration is constrained largely by land requirements of food production, the largest human use of land globally.  Food production therefore incurs a ‘carbon opportunity cost’, that is, the potential for natural CO2 removal via ecosystem restoration on land.  This cost can vary greatly depending on the ‘potential’ or ‘native’ vegetation of a given region and types of food produced. Animal-sourced foods such as meat and dairy have large land footprints because animals typically consume more food macronutrients than they produce. Quantifying the spatial distribution of agriculture’s cumulative carbon opportunity cost within this century can inform efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 °C.  Ongoing agricultural emissions can be abated by shifts to less-resource-intensive, plant-based diets but the potential for cumulative CO2 removal from native vegetation regrowth in areas occupied by animal agriculture has not previously been calculated in a spatially explicit manner.   Here we quantify the total carbon opportunity cost of animal agricultural production to be 152.5 (94.2–207.1) gigatons of carbon (GtC) in living plant biomass across all continents and biomes (Fig. 1). We approximated the potential for CO2 removal in soil and litter as an additional 63 GtC.  This estimate is associated with large but unknown uncertainty because of a deficit of data and the complexity of dynamics of non-living carbon pools in restored ecosystems. Pastures for ruminant meat and dairy production represent the majority of the total carbon opportunity cost—72%—compared with animal feed croplands, which suppress the remaining 28% of native vegetation carbon. Potential productivity on remaining cropland is sufficient to supply the current global population with 78g per capita per day of protein (after factoring losses from both storage and consumer waste), an amount exceeding dietary recommendations, accounting for variation in nutritional requirements among demographic groups and for disparities in food availability. The cumulative potential of CO2 removal on land currently occupied by animal agriculture is comparable in order of magnitude to the past decade of global fossil fuel emissions. To understand the potential future consequences of animal-sourced food consumption on global CO2 budgets, we modelled land use of three global dietary scenarios to the year 2050 relative to the present day (base year 2015). The net CO2 balance was calculated for a business-as-usual (BAU) diet following economic trends, a healthier diet with approximately 70% meat reduction globally relative to BAU 13 (the EAT-Lancet Commission or ELC diet) and a vegan (VGN) diet with no animal-sourced foods. The BAU diet results in land clearing, with land-use-change emissions of 86 (68–105) GtCO2 (Fig. 3) because optimistic future improvements in yields are insufficient to meet expected animal feed demands. The ELC and VGN diets result in 332 (210 to 459) and 547 (358 to 743) total GtCO2 removal, respectively, approximately equal to the past 9 and 16 years of fossil fuel emissions. Ecosystem soil and litter could remove an additional 135 and 225 GtCO2 for ELC and VGN, respectively, but this estimate is highly uncertain. Smaller future increases in crop yields would result in less land sparing and CO2 removal from ELC and VGN diets compared with present day: 199 and 424 GtCO2 , respectively. However, plant-rich diets would permit even greater mitigation compared with BAU; lower yields result in greater land-clearing emissions of 247 GtCO2 . Ceasing fossil fuel use is necessary to limit global warming, but CO2 removal following plant-rich dietary shifts could substantially contribute to international greenhouse gas reduction targets. Cumulative CO2 emissions (anthropogenic emissions minus removal) must remain below 335 GtCO2 after 2019 to limit warming to 1.5 °C at a 66% likelihood level.  CO2 removal from terrestrial vegetation following ELC or VGN dietary shifts would increase permissible CO2 emissions by 99% (63%–137%) or 163% (107%– 222%), respectively. Adding net CO2 uptake by native ecosystem soil and litter to this total increases the 1.5°C budget by 139% or 230%, respectively. By contrast, most future scenarios of 1.5°C warming rely on nascent bioenergy carbon capture and storage technology to remove 151 to 1,191 GtCO2 from the atmosphere – an amount of CO2 comparable to plant-rich diets. Carbon uptake saturates after around 25 years for tropical forests and around 30 years for temperate forests. Changes in diets and agricultural land use within the next two decades could contribute substantially toward carbon neutrality by 2050. Overshooting 1.5°C warming poses substantial risks to human and natural systems, including a weakened terrestrial ecosystem carbon sink. However, even in high-emission pathways, terrestrial ecosystems are expected to act as a net carbon sink through 2100, although the precise magnitude is subject to on-going investigation. Changes to global agricultural production would be economically disruptive and could incur sociocultural costs, which must be compared with the costs of climate warming from unabated agricultural emissions. Restoration efforts could minimize trade-offs by targeting the highest-carbon areas. Financial incentives to restore high-carbon forests may come from higher-income, higher-emitting nations, providing investments to protect livelihoods, strengthen food security and improve agricultural productivity. Our analysis also reveals substantial opportunities for CO2 removal in high-income countries and temperate ecoregions that are often neglected in scientific and policy conversations. This analysis uses the most up-to-date and high-resolution data to map ecosystem carbon trade-offs associated with animal-sourced food production. Our results demonstrate substantial carbon opportunity costs incurred by resource-intensive diets, comparable to the remaining carbon budget to 1.5°C.  Animal agriculture across all continents and income categories represents a profound trade-off when compared with potential Read more

    • Book Review by James O’Donovan The book ‘Rethinking Food and Agriculture is edited by Laila Kassam (Animal Think Tank) and Amir Kassam (University of Reading) with chapters from a range of academics and activists.  The book highlights the urgent need to ‘rethink’ the food and agriculture system and highlights ‘new ways forward’, including alternative paradigms of agriculture, human nutrition and political economy that are more ethical, sustainable and just.  Contributors include Robert Chambers, David Jenkins, Tony Juniper, Dr. Shireen Kassam, David Montgomery, Vandana Shiva and many others.  It’s a wonderful contribution to the science and philosophy supporting the urgent need to transition to a non-violent vegan food system and restore a right relationship with ourselves, other species and nature. The book outlines how the multiple health, climate and biodiversity crises we are facing are deeply interconnected and that these interconnections need to be better understood for meaningful system-wide transformation to be possible. In order to understand these interconnections the book explores the different stages in the food system from farm to retail and the different participants in the food system including farmers and their communities, civil society groups, social movements, development experts, scientists, and other food system actors who have been raising awareness of these issues and implementing more sustainable and just food system solutions.  The book also undertakes a deep exploration of the underlying beliefs, values, ethics and motivations, which drive the global capitalist economic system including the food system.  The authors comment that, “injustice toward and suffering of humans, other animals, and nature is ultimately an issue of values and ethics. Responsible food and agriculture systems must be shaped by ethics, equity, quality of life, and informed engagement of civil society that is connected both locally and internationally.“  The concluding chapter distills some of the key themes and ways forward explored in the preceding chapters.  It uses these themes to inform the concept of “inclusive responsibility” which embodies a vision of a healthy food and agriculture system.  “An inclusively responsible food and agriculture system would encourage society to focus on agroecological sustainability as an integral part of overall ecosystem sustainability based on planetary boundaries.  Such a system would place importance on quality of life, pluralism, equity, and justice for all.  It would emphasize the health, wellbeing, sovereignty, dignity, and rights of farmers, consumers, and all other stakeholders, as well as of nonhuman animals and the natural world.  The concept of “inclusive responsibility” is ultimately based on an understanding of the interconnectedness of nature and the place and responsibility of human society within it.“ The authors have created a website, which shares extracts from each of the chapters.  You can read a brief summary of the chapters here and…you can also ask your library to order a copy here. As an introduction to the authors I would highly recommend the following talks: Amir Kassam at the London Veg Fest in 2018: Laila Kassam at the Brighton Veg Fest in 2019: This article is part of the Creative Commons and is free to reproduce with attribution.

    • By Bronwyn Slater I’ve had an interest in self-sufficiency and off-grid living now for many years, so recently I decided to go zero waste.  While I’m delighted to see so many new vegan products appearing on the supermarket shelves, I’ve grown weary of the plastic packaging they come in.  Images of oceans full of plastic waste on TV and social media were enough to put me off plastic for a life time.  For me, zero waste means I avoid buying anything in plastic, even if it’s a type of plastic that can be recycled.  I try to buy as many food and other products without any packaging at all, if possible.  If I can’t get something without packaging then I choose paper/cardboard, glass or metal over plastic.  Paper and cardboard can be composted at home, and glass and metal can be recycled infinitely. Why Zero Waste The issue of plastic waste has recently hit the headlines with news channels and social media exposing the problem of trash in our oceans.  Plastic enters the ocean via rivers, beaches and flooding events.  The Ocean Cleanup project is currently attempting to clean up the Pacific Garbage Patch – an area of nearly 8 million square kilometres in the ocean between Japan and the American West Coast where 80,000 tonnes of plastic debris and discarded fishing nets are circulating. In warm ocean water plastic can degrade in as little as a year, but it degrades into smaller and smaller bits of plastic which are toxic.  These end up in the guts of animals or wash up on shorelines.    Plastic is the most problematic type of packaging because it can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfill.  Waste disposal companies will only recycle certain types of plastic (such as PET).  Plastic is not really recycled.  It is downcycled into other forms of plastic which are used, largely, by the building and construction industry. Paper or cardboard are better alternatives because they can be composted.  Glass can be recycled indefinitely, as can metals.  Aluminium tins and cans are seen as a precious commodity by the recycling industry. Recycling is not the solution Most developed countries have recycling and waste disposal programmes in place.  Non-recyclable waste is either incinerated or dumped in landfill – both of which create pollution in the form of methane or toxic gases.  Recyclables (ie. plastics, paper, glass and metal) are sold by companies on the open market and may change hands many times between various providers.  There have been reports of waste ending up being dumped illegally or burned on open bonfires in Malaysia where laws and regulations are lax. In reaction to this there has been a big rise in the number of people trying to live a zero waste lifestyle.  There has been an explosion in the number of zero waste groups on social media.  Many companies are starting to provide products without packaging.  A wave of new refill and zero waste stores have opened up.  These shops buy food and other products in bulk and sell them by weight.  The customer brings their own containers to the shop, thereby avoiding the need for discarded packaging. Going Zero Waste You can find almost every zero waste product you need online – from shampoo and conditioner bars to wooden kitchen utensils.  Some people can become quite fanatical about zero waste, even to the extent of buying things like washable toilet paper or installing bidets.  Zero waste empowers people.  You are no longer an unwilling victim of the plastics industry. You, the customer, are in charge. You’ll be cutting down on the number of purchases you make, you’ll be making things from scratch, cooking more often, and cutting down on both your recyclable and non-recyclable waste. Toiletries and cleaning products Online shops are your best bet for finding products which have no packaging at all.  Lush do a great range of shampoo and conditioner bars, soaps, makeup, hair dye, and other cosmetic and personal care products.  Refill shops (most of which are online and do deliveries) are great for things like toothpaste tabs, dishwashing soap, laundry soap, etc.  These shops are conscious of the fact that people want zero waste, so their deliveries are usually in cardboard and compostable packaging. I have found the shampoo and conditioner bars really excellent and will continue buying these.  I buy soap loose or in cardboard boxes.  I use solid moisturiser and cleansing bars – these work by warming between your hands or simply rubbing on your skin.  In the kitchen I’ve replaced paper towels with washable cloths.  I make my own liquid soap by mixing some grated bar soap with boiling water. I use Bio-D washing powder which comes in a paper bag, and I occasionally use soap nuts. So on the bathroom and kitchen front, going zero waste has been extremely easy for me. Zero waste food Zero waste food is a bit more of a challenge.  There will be some products that you cannot buy without plastic that will be difficult to make yourself.  The most difficult challenge is vegan butter, which comes either in a plastic tub or in waxed paper which cannot be recycled.  Apart from that you can probably manage to buy most other foods either loose or in non-plastic packaging.  Here are a few tips: Buy fruit and vegetables loose by shopping at a greengrocer or at local markets. Buy food from refill stores if there is one near you, or order online.  These shops sell food such as lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, flours, rice, grains, dried fruit, cleaning products and much more.Buy bread from bakeries and bring your own bag.  You can also make your own bread from scratch or invest in a bread maker.You can make your own oat or nut milk quite easily using a food processor and a nut milk bag.  The process is very easy and only takes a few minutes.You can make your own fruit juice if you have juicer, Read more

    • WWF Press Release Global wildlife is in freefall, warned WWF, as its flagship Living Planet Report 2020 reveals population sizes of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have fallen an average of 68 per cent globally since 1970 – more than two thirds in less than 50 years. Nature is being destroyed by humans at a rate never seen before, and this catastrophic decline is showing no signs of slowing, the study says.  Intensive agriculture, deforestation and the conversion of wild spaces into farmland are among the main causes of nature loss, while over-fishing is wreaking havoc with marine life.  The decline has happened even faster than anticipated in 2018, and the conservation charity is warning that without urgent global action, life on Earth will be pushed to the brink.  This year’s Living Planet Report includes significant new research from a global group of scientists which confirms for the first time the actions that can halt and reverse the downward spiral of wildlife loss.  The research shows that we can only turn things around if ambitious conservation efforts to protect our wildlife are combined with urgent action to stop habitat loss and deforestation – changing our farming and the way we produce our food; tackling food waste and moving to healthier diets; and working to restore damaged habitats and landscapes.  With this urgent and ambitious global action in both conservation and the food and agriculture system, it may still be possible to put nature on a path to recovery by 2030.  Tanya Steele, Chief Executive at WWF, said: “We are wiping wildlife from the face of the planet, burning our forests, polluting and over-fishing our seas and destroying wild areas. We are wrecking our world – the one place we call home – risking our health, security and survival here on Earth. Now nature is sending us a desperate SOS and time is running out.  We are in a fight for our world: we now know what needs to be done, and paper promises won’t be enough. Only by putting the environment at the heart of our decision making can we build a safe and resilient future for nature, people and our planet.”  Highlights from the study and the latest Living Planet Index data include:  A 94% decline in average size of monitored wildlife populations in Latin America and the Caribbean – the largest drop anywhere in the world. Freshwater species populations have seen a steep decline of 84% including the critically endangered Chinese sturgeon in the Yangtze river, down 97%. In some parts of the world, leatherback turtles have declined by between 20% and 98%, with an 84% decline at Tortuguero beach in Costa Rica.  African elephant populations in the Central African Republic have declined by up to 98%. In the UK, populations of grey partridge have declined by 85% and populations of Arctic Skua in Orkney have declined by 62%.  The report also highlights that 75% of the Earth’s ice-free-land has been significantly altered by human activity, and almost 90% of global wetlands have been lost since 1700.   Conservation measures are already proving they can deliver positive results around the world, with legal protection for forest elephants in Ghana, blacktail reef sharks in Australia and tigers in Nepal resulting in large population increases, the LPI shows.  This year’s Living Planet Report also includes Voices for a Living Planet, a collection of essays from global thought leaders on how to build a healthy and resilient world for people and nature.   The Living Planet Report is based on data from the Living Planet Index produced by ZSL. Dr Andrew Terry, ZSL’s Director of Conservation, said: “The Living Planet Index is one of the most comprehensive measures of global biodiversity. For this report, ZSL’s team tracked data on 20,811 populations of 4,392 vertebrate species. An average decline of 68% in the past 50 years is catastrophic, and clear evidence of the damage human activity is doing to the natural world.  If nothing changes populations will undoubtedly continue to fall, driving wildlife to extinction and threatening the integrity of the ecosystems on which we all depend. But we also know that conservation works and species can be brought back from the brink. With commitment, investment and expertise, these trends can be reversed.”  Examples of wildlife populations declining The Irrawady dolphin has declined by roughly 44% between 1997 and 2008. This species from South and South East Asia is threatened by pollution, habitat degradation/fragmentation and entanglement in fishing gear.        The grey partridge has declined by 85% between 1970 and 2004 in the UK, likely due to the effects of agricultural intensification.  The Arctic skua, found in the Orkney Islands, experienced a decline of 62% between 1982 and 2010. This is a more pronounced decline than any other seabird in the UK and is linked to competition for nesting sites and the climate-related reduction in the availability of prey species. Population numbers of Grauer’s Gorilla in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, DRC have seen an estimated 87% decline between 1994 and 2015, mostly due to illegal hunting.  African elephant populations in the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem in Tanzania have declined by 86% since 1976, primarily due to poaching. African elephants declined by 98% between 1985 and 2010 due to the increasing of poaching in the early 1980s.  Populations of the Forest Elephant in Ghana (a subspecies of African Elephant) have more than doubled in protected areas, but in the Goaso forest block the population has declined by approximately 60% – this is an area that has not benefited from any conservation projects. This decline is thought to be due to habitat loss and poaching.  Leatherback turtles have seen a decline in two locations: Tortuguero beach in Costa Rica, saw an 84% decline in the estimated number of nests laid between 1995 and 2011.There was a 78% decline in the number of nests at Jamursba-Medi beaches in Indonesia between 1993 and 2012.  Examples of wildlife populations increasing  Between 2008-9 and 2013-14, the tiger population of Nepal has increased by 64% due to conservation efforts including protection from poaching, habitat management and community engagement. Populations of the loggerhead turtle have increased by 154% in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park of South Africa between 1973 and 2009. Harvesting of this species ceased with the onset of active conservation and the proclamation of coastal marine protected areas.  The blacktail reef shark population increased in relative abundance by over 360% between 2004 and 2016 after a marine protected area was established at the Ashmore Reef in Western Australia. The leopard shark population of North America increased by nearly 750% between 1995 and 2004 after the ban of a gill net fishery. Almost one in three freshwater species are threatened with extinction. The 3,741 monitored populations – representing 944 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fishes – in the Freshwater Living Planet Index have declined by an average of 84% (range: -89% to -77%), equivalent Read more