It's Mother's Day, hopefully being enjoyed by mothers everywhere. Well, most of them. Not Mother Earth, obviously. According to the United Nations, Papatūānuku is doing it particularly tough at the moment, The UN's Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services' Global Assessment Report – whose title certainly isn't doing much for alphabet conservation - has been released and contains the most alarming research since last year's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
And if you can't see the connection you're part of the reason why we're in this mess.
To sum up – mass extinctions are likely with disastrous consequences to follow. The report is compiled by scientists who to a man or woman believe the Earth is round and that vaccination is safe, so its conclusions will doubtless be rejected in many quarters.
But the rest of us will accept that we've been profligate with our planet and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Though soon there may not be so many chickens – 23 per cent of threatened birds have already been negatively affected by climate change.
There is a long list of other spectacular and horrifying figures in the report. Of the world's eight million plant and animal species (five million of them insects, which perform crucial functions throughout the environment), one million are cusping on extinction.
We've had a mass extinction before – or at least our distant relatives did - 66 million years ago when the dinosaurs were wiped out. That event made us possible. But there's no reason to think another mass extinction would have the same outcome and produce an improved version of humanity. Or even that that result would be good for the planet
And this time there's no asteroid to blame for the destruction. It's all our own work. We have wasted resources and destroyed habitats for our needless consumables and the cargo cult of growth economics.
Meanwhile, billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos – who have never been accused of possessing an excess of common sense - pour money into a competitive private space race.
They want to colonise another planet when we can't even look after the one we have.
Paul Little: 'Temporary' berth will be here to stay
All this bears out that wisdom shared by so many indigenous peoples around the world: that we are caretakers of the planet. It is not ours to use but ours to protect for those who come after us.
The report shames us all, but it should especially shame those who whine about a measure as mild as an offshore oil exploration ban. And it should shame those who support continued land-based oil explorations. And it should shame everyone who thinks the half-arsed measures contained in the Zero Carbon Bill announced this week are sufficient to make a substantial difference.
There's an excellent summary of the ISBPE report, at un.org. It doesn't just cry doom but lists a raft of solutions. Unfortunately, you're not going to like them because they nearly all involve the same thing – rejection of our current economic philosophies and replacement with policies that prioritise survival, that put the planet's needs ahead of people's desires.
"We mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values," says IPBES chair Sir Robert Watson.
In other words – no more AliExpress.
"Depend upon it, sir," said Samuel Johnson in 1777, "when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."
How much more wonderful should that concentration be when a whole planet faces a death sentence?
There is hope, but only if we keep our focus and determ- Oh, look! A royal baby!