The Environment Aotearoa 2019 report from the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics NZ is a stark reminder of the huge threats New Zealand's environment and communities face says WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy. It reflects WWF's Living Planet Report, which showed global wildlife populations have decreased by 60% since 1970. Environment Aotearoa is essential reading to understand what we have now, what we risk losing, and what we can do to bend the curve. What we MUST do.
Sadly, not everything in this report is new information. We've known for some time our environment is at risk of irreversible damage from current human activity. Nearly 4,000 of our native species are threatened or at risk of extinction. We are all connected. If the river is sick, people are sick. It is not possible to separate individual issues and treat them symptomatically. Our solutions can not be piecemeal.
We know it is important to Kiwis, as the report highlights, our connection to nature is so deep that we even name ourselves after a native bird. Now is the time to turn this passion into action. Together it's possible for us to unlock a different future where New Zealanders thrive in harmony with nature. When New Zealanders stand up together we get big changes-like the ban on plastic bags, like the ban on new off shore exploration, and going nuclear free.
Business as usual won't protect us or our unique environment from the dangers outlined in this report. We need innovative solutions and for private businesses to step up. Some companies are already doing this. Over 80 New Zealand businesses have joined the Climate Leaders Coalition and pledged to cut their emmissions. Many are converting this promise into Science Based Targets with the help of WWF and our partners. And in the ocean, businesses like Moana NZ and Sanford are already researching new ways to fish that are safe for Māui dolphins. All these of these efforts need government support.
WWF-New Zealand stands ready to work with businesses, communities and government to unlock new, transformative, innovative ideas for nature. Together it's possible.