BBC One announces Extinction: The Facts, a new one-hour documentary presented by Sir David Attenborough.
A sequel to last year’s Climate Change: The Facts, this programme investigates the potential catastrophic consequences of the loss in biodiversity, predicted by scientists in a UN report published last year.
A coalition of more than 500 experts revealed that around 1 million species of plants and animals now face extinction.
To a certain extent extinction is a natural process, but it’s happening up to 100 times faster than the natural evolutionary rate.
The documentary demonstrates how humans are the main culprits, with the illegal wildlife trade, overfishing, climate change, pollution, and land use change all toppling the delicately balanced natural world.
Due to the complex networks of reliance between all life forms, the crisis is about more than the loss of individual species - it threatens our own wellbeing.
It reduces our food and water security, our control over the climate, and increases the risk of pandemic diseases.
Attenborough makes the compelling case for institutional and individual action, as the evidence suggests that nature can bounce back at this critical juncture.
The mountain gorilla population in Rwanda, for example, grew from 250 to 1000 in 40 years thanks to the coordinated efforts of conservationists, governments and the local community.
Sir David Attenborough said: “Over the course of my life I’ve encountered some of the world’s most remarkable species of animals. Only now do I realise just how lucky I’ve been. Many of these wonders seem set to disappear forever.
"We are facing a crisis and one that has consequences for us all. It threatens our ability to feed ourselves, to control our climate, it even puts us at greater risk of pandemic diseases such as COVID-19.
"It’s never been more important for us to understand the effects of biodiversity loss, of how it is that we ourselves are responsible for it. Only if we do that, will we have any hope of averting disaster.”
Extinction: The Facts airs on Sunday 13 September 2020 at 8pm on BBC One.