The list of developments with disastrous effects to the planet is long and growing daily. The facts listed here, published by reputable scientific sources, are not meant to be exhaustive and are incomplete even in terms of the ‘most significant changes’ occurring; but they have been selected to give a first impression of what is going on.
Website GA-E Menüpunkt Daten und Fakten
A few general information sources:
Every day the acidification of the oceans increases
The effect is a chain reaction of chemical and biological changes that cause – among others – dangerous harm for all ocean dwellers that build calcareous shells, such as molluscs and sea angels. This is because they then have to expend more energy to build and maintain their calcareous shells. Consequently their shells get thinner and possibly disintegrate, thus offering less protection against predators.
Around 30,000 hectares of forest are destroyed every day
Deforestation promotes climate change, which in turn leads to forest dieback – a devastating dynamic that in turn contributes massively to climate change and species extinction
Approximately 30,000 tons of plastic waste are dumped in the oceans every day
This has serious implications for marine life – and, through food chains, as yet unassessable impacts on terrestrial life as well.
Plastic particles are eaten with every third fish consumed.
The “Pacific garbage vortex” alone is now 1.6 million square kilometers in size – i.e. five times the size of Germany. Also interesting: only 9% of the plastic waste currently produced is recycled, 12% is incinerated and the rest ends up in landfills or in the sea – the latter to such an extent that 500 dead zones have already been created in the world’s oceans and every 3rd fish consumed contains plastic.
Every day, an estimated 100 to 250 species disappear
Although it is difficult to come to terms with the extinction of species with figures – serious studies usually assume 50,000 to 100,000 per year, with a strong upward trend.
If this continues, one million animal species are at risk of extinction within the next decade – the largest exodus since the end of the dinosaur age and with devastating consequences for life as a whole on the planet.
The desert is growing every day
Currently by 192 km² – that is by 70,000 km² per year, which corresponds to the area of Ireland.
Gigantic areas are sealed every day
In Germany alone, a total of 18509 km² of soil was sealed by 2018 – 5,100 % of the total country area. In Europe this was topped only by Netherlands, Belgium and Malta, the latter with 20 % of the country area. between 1992 and 2020. That is an average of 170 km² per year or 47 ha per day. Although appropriate measures have led to a trend towards a reduction in sealing, the fact remains that enormous areas of land continue to be taken away from animal and plant life, water storage and filtration, and agricultural use on a daily basis.
Restoring fertile soil, such as for food production, is much more costly in terms of time and effort than previously thought, because fertile soils are the result of long physical, chemical, and biological processes.
By the way, only 12 percent of the earth’s surface is arable.
Genetic engineering is gaining ground
According to one estimate, GE crops were already grown on nearly 13% of the world’s arable land in 2019.
GE crops are a major contributor to the growing use of weed killers, which in turn contribute significantly to species reduction in flora and fauna
In 2022, there are 437 nuclear reactors in operation in 32 countries worldwide
Despite the fact that the frequency of natural disasters such as storms, hurricanes and tsunamis is increasing due to climate change, 179 reactors are located about one kilometer or less from the sea, including new construction projects in France, Japan, China, Finland, Turkey and Brazil.
Each reactor produces 20 to 30 tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste per year.
That is currently about 11,000 tons per year or 30 tons per day. And this without there being even a single final repository yet, let alone one that promises safety.
Annual rise in temperatures and sea level
… – but not linearly. Therefore, precise data are not possible. However, cautious and preliminary estimates suggest that by 2100, temperatures will rise by 1.8 to 4 degrees and sea levels by up to two meters. The melting of the poles and the glaciers is proceeding much faster than initially assumed, with a self-reinforcing effect and therefore increasing speed.
The wealth of the richest is multiplying at an almost explosive rate
According to Oxfam’s 2020 study, “both the wealth of billionaires* and the speed at which they are increasing their wealth in the Corona pandemic [are] unprecedented in human history. Since March 2020, the wealth of the current 2,755 billionaires has increased by five trillion US dollars, from 8.6 to 13.8 trillion. They have thus increased their wealth more during the pandemic than in the entire previous fourteen years – fourteen years that themselves already resembled a gold rush for the super-rich.”
At the same time – how could it be otherwise! – the number of those forced to live below the World Bank-defined poverty line of $5.50 per day has increased by 163 million people! In total, 3.36 billion people are currently living below the poverty line – this corresponds to almost half of humanity. Of these 3.36 billion people 700 million live in extreme poverty, which means they are surviving on less than $1.90 a day.
More people on the run than ever before
According to a report by UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR’s partner), 89.3 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations.