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Trees Have No Voice
By Vijay Prashad
Posted August 1, 2021

capitalism is destroying the planetEcosystems have degraded at an alarming rate; here’s what can be done.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report from 2019 provides stunning examples of the scale of the destruction:


  • One million of the estimated 8 million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction.
  • Human actions have driven at least 680 vertebrate species to extinction since 1500, with global vertebrate species populations dropping by 68 percent in around the last 50 years.
  • The abundance of wild insects has fallen by 50 percent.
  • Over 9 percent of all domesticated mammal breeds used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with another thousand breeds currently facing extinction.

Ecosystem degradation is accelerated by capitalism, which intensifies pollution and waste, deforestation, land-use change and exploitation, and carbon-driven energy systems. For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report, Climate Change and Land, (January 2020) notes that only 15 percent of known wetlands remain, most having been degraded beyond the possibility of recovery. More…