The global biological crisis is real, massive and urgent – we have to act now!


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(more than 65,000 signatories including many scientists)

More than 15,000 international scientists signed the World scientists‘ warning to humanity  by Ripple et al. (2017, illustration on the left). This is one of the top society impact papers of all times.

Global change with raising CO2 level and temperatures, loss of tropical forests and many other ecological threats such as shortage of drinking water resources put the welfare of humans and the future of civilisation at risk.

Ripple et al. also considered the ongoing decrease in species diversity, actually a 6th and entirely man-driven mass-extinction of animal life, as a severe threat to ecosystem function.


Showing a 60% of biomass loss of large mammals and birds during the last decades, most life forms may be endangered or extinct until the end of this century, they predicted.

Biological crisis or 'biocalypse'?

The biological crisis is, however, even more profound, universal and rapid than realized or feared by most citizens, politicians and scientists. Species extinction rates may excel natural levels 1,000 to 10,000-fold (Pimm et al. 2014, De Voos et al. 2015), tendency increasing. 20,000 to 50,000 animal species may already disappear per year; hard to say exactly as long as we do not know the dimension of undiscovered species diversity, which may reach 2 to 100 million (plus even more microbes). What we do know: species rich ecosystems such as coral reefs are dying in warming and acidifying oceans now and experts predict that most of the world’s reefs may be dead until the year 2050, or even much earlier (Van Hoidoonk et al. 2017). Thousands or even millions of – largely unknown (!) – species are at risk now and in the very near future. The crisis may quickly turn into a ‘biocalypse’.


Insect biomass is collapsing

The famous „Krefeld study“ (Hallmann et al. 2017) showed an average 76% decline of flying insect biomass in a total of 63 collecting sites in Germany during the last 27 years.

What will happen with ecosystem functions, when will tipping points be reached, when will reduction of local genetic variation escalate into species extinction? Most notable, this catastrophic insect decline was measured in protected areas such as natural reserves.


The authors made habitat destruction and agrochemical poisoning responsible for their observation. Negative influence of pesticides beyond treated areas is well-known, and there is no doubt that in surrounding monocultures the biomass had collapsed even worse. Our agricultural system has to be transformed into an organic, sustainable use of fertile soils and biodiverse landscapes asap!


Then comes extinction

Not only biomass declines in an unforeseen speed, but also species richness. Other studies, e.g. on butterflies, show a 40% decline in species diversity in natural environments in Germany (Haslberger & Segerer, 2016). As almost everywhere else, small to large animals are endangered to a considerable extent, 20-50% on national scales (Red Lists of the IUCN), and non-marine mollusks such as snails and freshwater bivalves even reach more than 60%.

The problem with extinction is, obviously but still necessary to be emphasized, that genetic and species loss is irreversible. BioDIEversity thus has a unique quality, different from usually reversible chemical and physical processes, and a high, increasing speed with the potential to suddenly excel: it is the most dangerous and underestimated environmental problem of our times (Schrödl & Häussermann, 2017)!

Habitat destruction and pollution are mainly responsible (World Bank 2008) and the progressively increasing climate change yet comes on top. We need to protect half the surface of our planet and to minimize CO2 emissions radically! What, if not?

This is the end, my friend!

Importantly, the sudden and definitive loss of life, the `biocalypse`, is not just one of the negative consequences of global change or destructive agriculture, it is fatal for civilization by itself. Collapse of soils and ecosystems can and will cause human misery and migration of hundreds of million people. This will affect world economy, global safety, stability and health, and our all lifes and future. And the time window available for efficient actions against bioDIEversity likely is much narrower than that for mitigating climate change alone.

Yet, media attention to biodiversity loss was more than 8 times lower than to climate change (Legagneux et al. 2018). We thus propose a World Council of Life at the United Nations, equal to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


Do you have kids?

Then you should definitely take this stuff serious!

Yes, overpopulation is a serious threat to biodiversity and population growth ultimately causes problems to all global environments. Top species killer, however, is the industrialized agriculture that must be changed into sustainable and fair land use (World Bank, 2008), together with overly consumption of meat and other animal products which must be reduced. Also, claims for transforming an economic system striving for endless growth on a single planet with limited resources are reasonable (Pacheco et al. 2018). Pressure on politics towards a much more sustainable economy is necessary. We need a new ethic of responsibility and sustainability, modern humans must see themselves as part of nature, on which we all depend (Skubala, 2018), whether we can fire Tesla cars in the orbit or not.


We all must act now!

Economy, industry, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, politics, marketing, media, etc: they all must change to preserve life. BUT, and this point is seldom emphasized or exercised, playing all these big change games should not prevent us to use our own power, mind and money to mitigate the biological crisis on a personal level. This is especially true for relatively wealthy people from industrialized countries! We are informed, we are responsible and there are no more excuses for ignorance or passivity.


We all can buy organic products and generate strong leverage to agricultural change. We all can live a more sustainable life and save or compensate CO2. We all can inform and encourage other people about the facts:  we are facing a huge problem with global biodiversity which is NOW going to be lost forever!



To sum up, life forms and ecosystems are collapsing in the seas and on land - but nobody seems to really care! No fun, no joke, no hoax: many 1000s of the world`s best scientists areseriously worried about our near future! As the famous evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson called it, we are in humanity’s final game.


We all have to speak up and warn the world, and we have to live a personal change to be credible: reduce, reuse, recycle – and compensate, collaborate and change yourself, now.

Please sign / share / support our online petition

(more than 65,000 signatories including many scientists)

Literature cited

De Vos, J. M., Joppa, L. N., Gittleman, J. L., Stephens, P. R., & Pimm, S. L. (2015). Estimating the normal background rate of species extinction. Conservation Biology, 29(2), 452-462.


Hallmann, C. A., Sorg, M., Jongejans, E., Siepel, H., Hofland, N., Schwan, H., ... & Goulson, D. (2017). More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas. PloS one, 12(10), e0185809.


Haslberger, A., & Segerer, A. H. (2016). Systematische, revidierte und kommentierte Checkliste der Schmetterlinge Bayerns (Insecta: Lepidoptera). Münchner Entomologische Gesellschaft eV.


Legagneux, P., Casajus, N., Cazelles, K., Chevallier, C., Chevrinais, M., Guéry, L. … & Ropars, P. (2018). Our House is burning: discrepancy in climate change vs. Biodiversity coverage in the media as compared to scientific literature. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 5, 175.


Pacheco, L. F., Altrichter, M., Beck, H., Buchori, D., & Owusu, E. H. (2018). Economic Growth as a Major Cause of Environmental Crisis: Comment to Ripple et al. BioScience.


Ripple, W. J., Wolf, C., Newsome, T. M., Galetti, M., Alamgir, M., Crist, E., ... & 15,364 scientist signatories from 184 countries. (2017). World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice. BioScience, 67(12), 1026-1028.


Schrödl, M. & Häussermann, V. (2017). BiodiversiTOT. Die globale Artenvielfalt jetzt entdecken, erforschen und erhalten. Books on Demand, Norderstedt. 336 pp.


Skubała, P. (2018). World Scientists’ Second Warning to Humanity: The Time for Change Is Now. BioScience.


Sweetman, A.K. et al. 2017. Major impact of climate change on deep-sea benthic ecosystems. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 5: 4.


Van Hooidonk, R. et al. 2016. Local-scale projections of coral reef futures and implications of the Paris Agreement. Scientific Reports 6: 39666.


World Bank (2008). Agriculture at a crossroads. Global Report.