A mass extinction event is when species vanish much faster than they are replaced – the last extinction crisis led to the disappearance of the dinosaurs.
The world is in the midst of the sixth mass species extinction, according to Professor Jill Atkins, chair in Financial Management at Sheffield University Management School.
“The crisis is not just limited to animals, its flora and fauna; insects in particular. We’re in the middle of an ‘insect apocalypse’. It's a very serious situation,” Professor Atkins says.
In the fifth episode of our six-part biodiversity podcast series, we look at the causes of species extinction and the role that the financial industry and business can play in addressing the crisis.
Professor Atkins is an expert on pollinator decline and is the author of The Business of Bees, published in 2016, which examines the financial impact of the reduction in bees and other pollinators around the world.
“For many years now, we've had a situation known as colony collapse disorder, whereby bees in hives or colonies have suddenly disappeared or died. This has happened on a very large scale, not just in one country, but globally. One of the main reasons for this collapse is pesticide use.
“The commercial bee industry in the United States is losing 40-45% of the bees housed in beehives every year, for example. There is a direct impact on the agricultural industry because they're pollinators. It demonstrates how species decline can materially and significantly impact an industry.”
Guests also include Warren Maroun, from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, on the work listed companies in the country are doing to support biodiversity preservation and researcher Nnamdi Akola on the extinction crisis facing global rhino populations and initiatives to address the decline.