UN Secretary-General: 'Humanity Has Become a Weapon of Mass Extinction'

    UN Secretary-General: 'Humanity Has Become a Weapon of Mass Extinction'
    Last updated Dec 08, 2022
    Image credit: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]


    • At biodiversity talks in Montreal on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres slammed multinational corporations for making the environment into "playthings of profit." He suggested, "With our bottomless appetite for unchecked and unequal economic growth, humanity has become a weapon of mass extinction.”[1]
    • "We are treating nature like a toilet," Guterres stated. He added, "And ultimately, we are committing suicide by proxy," with a resulting impact on food security, disease, and fatalities.[1]
    • Delegates from across the world have gathered for the UN's Dec. 7-19 COP15 summit to craft a 10-year framework to support forests, oceans, and species as well as the role of indigenous peoples as stewards of biodiversity.[2]
    • A major draft target calls for governments to designate 30% of Earth's land and seas as protected areas by 2030.[3]
    • However, some human rights activists caution that this proposal, known as "30x30," could actually encourage land grabs and perpetuate violence against indigenous communities. Per Sophie Grig of the campaign Survival International: “Up to 300 million people could be directly displaced and dispossessed. Many will be Indigenous people, who have protected their lands for millennia."[4]
    • More than 1M species, especially insects, are threatened with extinction — disappearing at a rate not seen in 10M years.[5]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    Acting to address biodiversity loss has never been more urgent. Humanity relies on clean air, food, and a habitable climate. A terrifying one million plant and animal species are under threat of extinction. More than half of the global Gross Domestic Product, equal to $41.7 trillion, relies on healthy ecosystems. Limiting global warming to +1.5°C over baseline and meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals is possible if we agree to protect our fellow species.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    One of the urgent topics for COP15 is to set a new 10-year framework. It was no surprise that the last 10-year target was pronounced a failure by the Convention on Biological Diversity. This decade's draft proposal is just too weak. If humanity wants to meet the 30X30 target, we can't afford weak, vague, toothless language — Indigenous communities, species, and ecosystems all deserve better.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that at least 24.6% of Earth's land will be protected for wildlife by January 1, 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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