With the doubling of the human population since 1970, the number of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians has dropped by more than half. At the root of this decline is widespread environmental destruction that is the consequence of our growth as a species and our increasing food consumption, production, and harvesting practices. Although climate change casts a dark shadow over future conservation efforts, agriculture is the number one threat to wildlife—and the two issues are related.
Oceans, forests and other ecosystems sequester up to 50 percent of carbon emitted by human activities. Humankind has already altered over 75 percent of the ice-free land on this planet. If we continue along this trajectory, we will need to double our crop production to feed a growing world population. This requires resource-intensive and ecologically-destructive foods such as meat and dairy, perpetuating a vicious cycle of converting biodiverse regions into food production. This fragments habitats, threatens species, and contributes to global climate change—endangering all life on this planet.
Palm oil production has exploded in recent decades, fueled by a growing global demand. It is now the leading cause of tropical deforestation and destruction of carbon-rich peatlands—giving palm oil production the additional distinction of being a major driver of human-induced climate change. Palm oil that is linked to the destruction of rainforests, climate pollution, and human rights abuses is known as Conflict Palm Oil.
Learn about OPS campaigns to address deforestation.