Thank heavens for the birth of Harry and Meghan’s baby and the 71st annual Met Gala.
If not for these two celebrity events yesterday, we might be forced to acknowledge an apocalyptic UN report on nature, biodiversity and the overall health of the planet.
Sir Robert Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, pulled no punches describing the report’s findings. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever,” he said. “We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”
One million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction.
Three-quarters of our land-based environment and two-thirds of our marine environment have been “significantly altered by human actions.”
Plastic pollution has increased tenfold in the past four decades and the world’s wetlands are quickly disappearing before our eyes.
The report blames human intervention for the planet’s imminent destruction. Yet while the outlook may be bleak, it is not without hope. Through immediate and wholesale action, we can save ourselves and much of the earth’s flora and fauna.
Sadly, such action appears unlikely to be taken, let alone seriously entertained. For evidence, look no further than yesterday’s news cycle and social media traffic.
As quickly as the UN report started trending online, it was buried by news that Meghan Markle had gone into labour. Later in the day, Twitter and Facebook feeds were inundated with photos of the gaudy spectacle that is the annual Met Gala in New York.
Do people really care more about the royal baby’s name, or Lady Gaga’s costume changes, than they do about the planet? Or are editors and producers, along with social media algorithms, spoon-feeding us pablum when we really need a hit of smelling salts?