A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

The Cost Per Human of Saving the Planet

Two weeks ago, we noted that the extinction disaster now facing the planet could be stopped and even turned around “with a relatively small commitment of $440 billion a year from nations around the world” spread over the next decade.

A study by a team of 17 researchers in Science magazine has costed this out at $11 a year – that’s 3 cents a day – from each human being on Earth. According to Scientific American: [readon]

The study, released in conjunction with eleventh meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity … is intended to support goals and commitments to halting extinctions and preserving nature by the year 2020 that the world’s governments have agreed to under the convention.

More specifically, the study finds that lowering the extinction risk for all of the species that are currently known to be threatened would cost the first $4 billion per year. Protecting and managing key habitats would cost an additional $76.1 billion.

The two lead authors of the study come from BirdLife International and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and they used their knowledge of birds as their key to unlocking some answers about protecting all species. Other authors come from the United Nations Environment Programme, Princeton University, the World Wildlife Fund, the University of Cambridge and other organizations.

Their plan is not a panacea that would turn the clock back on all the damage that’s already been done. Rather, it means mostly protecting habitats to the point where birds and other animals currently listed as “Critically Endangered” would recover enough to be listed as “Endangered,” and that currently “Endangered” species would move toward the “Vulnerable” category.

Obviously, not every human being on Earth has even $11 a year to spare. But enough of us have a lot more than the 10 cents a day that would cover not just ourselves but three others.

Are we going to do it? Unfortunately, it would be wise not to bet the house on it!

More details are here.