Tiny fraction of military budget could save planet's biodiversity

Posted Nov 5, 2014 by Ocean Malandra
A new study claims just 2.5 percent of what the world drops on military spending could protect enough of the planet's natural areas to reverse biodiversity loss.
An image of the Earth taken by the Russian weather satellite Elektro-L No.1.
An image of the Earth taken by the Russian weather satellite Elektro-L No.1.
GigaPan / Russian Space Agency / NTsOMZ
Despite the fact that global wildlife populations have decreased by more than half in the last 50 years, a study published in the journal Nature shows that the trend could be reversed by simply spending about 2.5 percent of what is now spent on armaments on conservation instead, according to a press release from the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The study shows that the future of the planet is based on human priorities.
“There is a fundamental need for an increase in support of global protected areas, including better recognition, funding, planning and enforcement” says Nigel Dudley, one of the study's co-authors. “It is government’s responsibility to step up but there is also the need for the wider community to take collective responsibility for protected areas.”
Collectively, the world spends almost $2 trillion dollars annually on military expenses, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which translates into roughly $250 per person.
The plan to protect biodiversity loss on the other hand, would only cost just over six dollars per person, according to these numbers, and would ensure a sustainable future for the planet for years to come.
"The key now is for countries to recognize the return on investment that protected areas offer and realize that those places are fundamental to the future of life on earth." said Julia Marton-Lefèvre, director general of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.
The findings of the study and the recommendations for creating and managing protected areas will be presented at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia from 12 to 19 November 2014.
The congress is a once-in-a-decade event that brings together people from all walks of life to showcase protected areas as humanity's best investment in the future.