The World Economic Forum estimates that more than 50% of the world's economy is moderately or highly dependent on nature.
Yet nature loss is now a planetary emergency. Humanity has already wiped out 83% of wild mammals and half of all plants. We have significantly modified three-quarters of earth’s ice-free land and two-thirds of earth’s marine environment.
Climate change is adding another significant adverse pressure onto our natural ecosystems - on top of habitat loss, contaminant loads and invasive predators. Around 1 million animal and plant species are facing extinction and known extinction rates are accelerating.
Aotearoa is a global biodiversity hotspot. Our complex landscape, isolated from the rest of the world for 80 million years, has shaped our unique flora and fauna. Around 80% of our native species are found no-where else in the world. Sadly, these irreplaceable animals and plants are facing an uncertain future. In many cases we have insufficient data to identify which of our native species have already become extinct or to track current population declines.
Over the last few centuries we have eliminated more than 90% of our wetlands and modified nearly all of our freshwater streams, rivers and lakes. On land we have significantly modified 70% of our forested ecosystems. At the same time we have introduced stoats, weasels, ferrets, rabbits, hares, hedgehogs, possums, pigs, goats, tahr, chamois and rats. None of these animals lived in Aotearoa before it was colonised and our native birds are largely defenseless against their aggressive killing tactics. Life within our oceans is also in trouble - through overfishing and modified habitat conditions especially increased water temperatures and acidity levels.
We have some data on the current plight of our native bird and mammal species. We know that Aotearoa has lost 57 bird species since humans arrived which is more than any other nation on the planet. At the same time we are widely recognised as the seabird centre of the world and nearly a quarter of all seabird species breed here.
Covid-19 serves as an alarming reminder that nature-based risks are huge and we ignore the importance of respecting and protecting natural ecosystems at our peril.
The time to act is now. Nature’s Grace Aotearoa exists to protect our native species by bringing stunning photographic images of our precious endangered native animals and plants into our everyday lives. When you hear the now-familiar requests to walk, rather than drive, to buy seasonal food and to have shorter showers, the images on Nature's Grace products will remind you of the beauty, intricacy and preciousness of what is really act stake - it is the future of the other animals and plants that we all share this earth with.
Toi Tu te mara o Tangaroa, Toi tu te marae o Tane, Toi tu e iwi
- Tags: conservation, Environmental protection, Made in New Zealand, native endangered, New Zealand butterflies, New Zealand geckos, Sustainability