People widely support wildlife conservation, but lack a general understanding of topics such as extinction due to lack of education, a new survey of National Geographic he found.
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A "surprising majority" of the 12,000 adults interviewed in 12 countries was unaware that vertebrate populations have fallen by about 60% since 1970 and are even shocked to learn that a quarter of the world's mammals could soon pay off, according to the survey, which was conducted in collaboration with market research firm Ipsos.
While the respondents were "highly aware" of the rapid rate of extinction, they did not know how much could be lost National Geographic.
Moreover, people "dramatically overestimate" how much of nature is protected, claiming that they believe that 35% of the world's marine waters are preserved, when that number actually approaches 7%. This overestimation could lead to the perception that the need to protect the environment is less urgent, according to the authors of the study.
However, regardless of the political or cultural context, very few people think that extinction is acceptable. An average of just 2% of respondents in each country stated that the extinction did not concern them.
"We now know that it is not just what is scientifically justified, but it is what people in a wide range of countries want," said Jonathan Baillie, chief scientist of the National Geographic Society. "So what's keeping us from being more ambitious?"
Dozens of species become extinct every day and scientists believe that a mass extinction of over 20,000 plants and animals is imminent, according to National Geographic.
An ambitious proposal to set aside half of the Earth for nature is necessary to prevent a mass extinction and protect biodiversity, Baillie and the biologist E.O. Wilson has theorized.
A UN report released in May stated that human activity pushed over 1 million species to the brink of extinction and that about 75% of the earth's terrestrial environment was "severely altered "by humans.
The UN report states that many of those species are threatened "within decades".
Greenhouse gases have more than doubled since 1980, which has raised global temperatures by at least 0.7 degrees Celsius, according to the report, according to which climate change could be nature's greatest disintegrator in the coming decades.
Jon Schlosberg of ABC News contributed to this report.
Disney is the parent company of ABC News and National Geographic.