I have found the report this week from the World Wildlife Foundation that humanity has wiped out 60 per cent of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970 to be the very definition of an extreme news shocker. Coming close on the heels of the Intergovenmental Panel on Climate Change report earlier this month, the WFF calculations chill the blood. Reading these reports in the early hours, coming through on my Kindle from the Guardian, has made me want to just pull the covers over my head and never get out of bed again.
One key part of the WFF report highlights that the worst affected region is South and Central America, which “has seen an 89 per cent drop in vertebrate populations, largely driven by the felling of vast areas of wildlife-rich forest. The deforestation, says Mike Barrett of the WFF, “is being driven by ever-expanding agriculture producing soy, which is being exported to countries to feed pigs and chickens.”
This news underlines the value of the Size of Herefordshire’s work. We are supporting, through the Forest Peoples Programme, the battles of the Wampis people in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. The best people at preserving their rainforest homes are the indigenous peoples, the peoples who have long had their homes and livelihood there. So, rather than pull the covers over, I am redoubling my efforts to give backing to the Wampis people, who are able and inventive but need some assistance. And I am eating less meat.