In has been revealed that 50 percent of the world’s species face extinction. According to biologists, this could still be prevented if we take action.

The revelation was announced during a conference at the Vatican. The conference was named Biological Extinction, which lasted for three days.

Rich western countries are now siphoning up the planet’s resources and destroying its ecosystems at an unprecedented rate,” explained biologist Paul Ehrlich, of Stanford University in California, the Guardian reports. “We want to build highways across the Serengeti to get more rare earth minerals for our cellphones. We grab all the fish from the sea, wreck the coral reefs and put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We have triggered a major extinction event. The question is: how do we stop it?”

Apparently, data suggests that 20 to 40 percent of species will be extinct by the end of the century but this will rise to 50 percent if no action is taken. The researchers also say that other less-famous organisms also face extinction.

“All of our food comes directly or indirectly from higher plants, of which there are an estimated 425,000 species. Tens of thousands of these have been cultivated for food at some time by some people, but at present, 103 of them produce about 90 per cent of our food worldwide, while three kinds of grain, maize, rice, and wheat, produce about 60 per cent of the total,” the statement says.

This could affect the Earth’s atmospheric purification, carbon storage and ecosystem services. Organisms that we rely on for our medicines are also threatened by extinction.

Also included in the activity is Paul Erlich, who is controversial among religious leaders for his stance on population control. He believes that birth control must be used to keep the human population at a sustainable level.

Many have signed a petition asking the pope to exclude him from the conference. However, he said that the pope has not changed his mind. “If you value people, you want to have the maximum number you can support sustainably. You do not want almost 12 billion living unsustainably on Earth by the end of the century – with the result that civilization will collapse and there are only a few hundred survivors,” explained Erlich.

According to the UN, human population will explode to 11.2 billion by the next century. Africa would suffer the greatest rise of population, which is believed to jump from 1 billion now to 4 billion in the future.

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