A United Nations report scheduled for official release on Monday will say that up to 1 million species face extinction as a result of human activity. But despite the grim figure, it’s not too late to protect global biodiversity, and humanity that relies on it, according to a wildlife health expert at Cornell University.
Steven Osofsky is a professor of wildlife health and health policy at the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine and a pioneer in planetary health — a field of study focused on understanding how human impacts on the environment affect public health.
“Anyone who denies that we are in a human-induced extinction crisis is either lying or not paying attention. But I have to believe it’s not too late — there are prospects for hope in bringing together sectors that have historically been antagonistic. From how we feed the world, to how we generate energy, to how we educate the next generation (especially women and girls), there are solutions to the pressures currently impacting global biodiversity and the natural systems humanity (perhaps ironically) ultimately depends upon for survival.
“Those of us who launched the field of planetary health recognized that we had to make today’s cavalcade of environmental threats more directly relevant to people’s understanding of their own self-interest (and that of their children) in order to catalyze new solutions to what seem like immense, intractable problems.”