The International Union for Conservation of Nature believes that human activity is diminishing biodiversity by at least 1,000 times the natural rate. Habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, over-exploitation of resources, pollution and disease are all taking their toll.
With the human population projected to hit 9 billion by 2050, it’s not looking good for the animal kingdom.
A controversial suggestion from scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock is that nuclear waste could be dumped in areas that need protection, to keep humans away. ‘One of the striking things about places heavily contaminated by radioactive nuclides is the richness of their wildlife,’ wrote Lovelock in his 2007 book Revenge of Gaia. He argued that animals and plants don’t see radioactivity as a danger and that farmland and construction sites are a far bigger threat to ecosystems.
In his opinion, tropical forests and other valuable habitats at risk are the perfect places to dispose of nuclear waste to stop us living there – and to let the wildlife move in.