56 Quotes on how Climate Change affects the Natural World

Table of Contents

We are not helping the environmental cause by destroying nature’s defense mechanisms. The natural world is disappearing right before our own eyes!



One of the reasons I work on climate change is because I worry about the impact it could have on endangered species. Climate change may threaten one million species globally and half of all mammals, reptiles, and amphibians in diverse places like the Albertine Rift in central Africa, home to the endangered mountain gorilla

– Michael Shellenberger, Author of Apocalypse Never


The science has never been stronger, the declining wildlife populations and their wild habitats are a clear indicator of the major impact of pressure we are exerting on our planet, eroding the very living fabric that sustains us all. However, we also have a unique opportunity to redefine our approach.

We need to re-focus on integrating the well-being of the communities, particularly those that live side by side with wildlife in landscapes rich in biodiversity in all conservation initiatives. This renewed approach requires broadening our focus to less charismatic species whose survival is critical to the health of our planet. We need a new deal for people and nature.

Christo Fabricius, Global Wildlife Lead Scientist, WWF


Rising temperatures are affecting wildlife and their habitats. Vanishing ice has challenged species such as the Adélie penguin in Antarctica, where some populations on the western peninsula have collapsed by 90 percent or more

– National Geographic


Pests and pathogens, however, benefit from warmer temperatures, which enable them to expand their territory and survive through the winter; their populations are on the increase.

– State of the Planet Earth Institute Colombia University


As temperatures change, many species are on the move. Some butterflies, foxes, and alpine plants have migrated farther north or to higher, cooler areas

– National Geographic


As the average global temperature warms, the sea ice vanishes, leaving less and less environment for polar bears and walruses to live on, walk on, and to stay out of the water. In fact, in 2008, the polar bear was added to the Endangered Species List as a threatened species, making the polar bear the first to be added due to global warming.

– Greenmatters


As temperatures have increased, 177 of 305 species of birds tracked in North America have shifted their centers of abundance during winter northward by 35 miles on average during the past four decades.

– The National Wildlife Federation


Milder winters and longer summers allow tree-killing insects to thrive. Meanwhile, trees weakened by prolonged drought have lower defense mechanisms. This cycle of warmer weather, weak trees and thriving insects is likely the culprit behind the massive die-off of 70,000 square miles of Rocky Mountain conifers.

Environmental Defense Fund 


Some species—including mosquitoesticksjellyfish, and crop pests—are thriving. Booming populations of bark beetles that feed on spruce and pine trees, for example, have devastated millions of forested acres in the U.S.

– National Geographic


If we want to save endangered species, we need to do so because we care about wildlife for spiritual, ethical, or aesthetic reasons, not survival ones.

– Michael Shellenberger, Author of Apocalyspe Never

Forest – Plants


When large areas of forest are destroyed it’s disastrous for the local species and communities that rely on them. Dying trees emit their stores of carbon dioxide, adding to atmospheric greenhouse gases and setting us on a course for runaway global warming.

World Wildlife Fund – The leading organization in wildlife conservation and endangered species. 


In tropical forests such as the Amazon, where there’s abundant biodiversity, even modest levels of climate change can cause high levels of extinction

– World Wildlife Fund – The leading organization in wildlife conservation and endangered species. 


Biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people are our common heritage and humanity’s most important life-supporting ‘safety net’. But our safety net is stretched almost to breaking point.

– Sandra Díaz, ecologist and professor of ecology at the National University of Córdoba. 


Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)


Wherever we look, nature’s warning signs are flashing red. We are facing a climate and environmental crisis. The link between a stable climate system and the protection of biodiversity is unequivocal.

The IPBES report clarifies that climate change is both key driver of and a growing threat to biodiversity degradation.

A global temperature rise beyond 1.5°C will have even more catastrophic consequences on the delicate web of life on which nature and people depend .- We must urgently prioritize our planet’s well-being. We need to press our politicians for decisive action, at home and internationally, to forge a new deal for nature and people.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF’s global climate and energy practice


Without the natural cycle of seasons that the area is supposed to receive, forests and other natural habitats can’t function properly. If they are not functioning properly, then the animals that typically rely on that environment cannot survive there. This can lead to animal deaths and even extinction.



Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES),



Ecosystems, species, wild populations, local varieties and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating or vanishing. The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed. This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world.

Prof. Josef Settele, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ


Warm-water coral reefs are extremely sensitive to global warming and ocean acidification. Coral reefs provide a habitat for thousands of species and ecosystem services such as coastal protection and food.

– Source Wikipedia


The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.

IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson.


The IPBES Global Assessment Report is yet another clarion call for political, business, finance and community leaders to take action or risk the very future of our planet. It highlights not only the decline of wild biodiversity but also agrobiodiversity. We are maintaining fewer varieties of plants and animals in our food system, reducing our resilience against future climate change, pests and diseases, and thus our long-term food security.

Joao Campari, Global Practice Leader, Food.


In California, drier conditions have meant less food for desert bighorn sheep. The drying up of ponds in Yellowstone National Park has led to the decline of four amphibian species. And in the Sonoran Desert in the southwest, some bird species stop breeding altogether during extreme drought conditions.

State of the Planet Earth Institute, Colombia University


The decline of sea ice results in the loss of ice algae, which are eaten by zooplankton. Arctic cod, which feed on zooplankton, are the prey of seals, which in turn are the main food of polar bears.

State of the Planet Earth Institute, Colombia University


In Australia, warmer winters are forcing mountain pygmy possums out of hibernation earlier than their prey, the Bogong moth, so many are starving to death.

State of the Planet Earth Institute, Colombia University


Warmer winters have helped an oyster parasite extend its range from Chesapeake Bay north to Maine, with the potential to cause large oyster die-offs.

State of the Planet Earth Institute, Colombia University


Climate change destroys the environment, especially natural habitats that animals rely on for food, shelter, and other vital resources. If coral reefs, jungles, oceans, meadows, and other natural areas are so significantly impacted by climate change, local plants and animals will recede or die off. This could ultimately impact the entire food chain, causing a mass extinction of species on a global scale.



Up to half of plant and animal species in the world’s most naturally rich areas, such as the Amazon and the Galapagos, could face local extinction by the turn of the century due to climate change if carbon emissions continue to rise unchecked

World Wildlife Fund


Beyond habitat displacement, many scientists agree that global warming is causing a shift in the timing of various natural cyclical events in the lives of animals. The study of these seasonal events is called phenology.

ThoughtCo,  Earth Talk


Many birds have altered the timing of long-held migratory and reproductive routines to better sync up with the warming climate. And some hibernating animals are ending their slumbers earlier each year, perhaps due to warmer spring temperatures.

ThoughtCo,  Earth Talk


Many glaciers, particularly in Washington State and the Mountain West, will disappear within the next decade and—at the latest—within a century.

Regine Hock, Geophysicist at the University of Alaska Fairbank


Global warming is also intensifying rainfall, flooding, hurricanes and droughts. Changing precipitation patterns can affect plant growth, the amount of moisture in soils, nutrient runoff, water retention and insect prevalence. 

State of the Planet Earth Institute, Colombia University


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that 20 to 30 percent of assessed plants and animals could be at risk of extinction if average global temperatures reach the projected levels by 2100.

State of the Planet Earth Institute, Colombia University



Weather is getting more extreme. Heatwaves are more frequent worldwide. The increased evaporation of water is like fuel for storms, exacerbating extreme weather events, such as hurricanes.

– Environmental Defense Fund


The dangerous effects of heat waves, including death, occur as a result of both temperature and humidity — especially if those conditions persist for more than two days.

– Environmental Defense Fund


Global warming can contribute to the intensity of heat waves by increasing the chances of very hot days and nights. Warming air also boosts evaporation, which can worsen drought. More drought creates dry fields and forests that are prone to catching fire, and increasing temperatures mean a longer wildfire season. Global warming also increases water vapor in the atmosphere, which can lead to more frequent heavy rain and snowstorms.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine


In 2015, for example, scientists said that an ongoing drought in California—the state’s worst water shortage in 1,200 years— had been intensified by 15 percent to 20 percent by global warming. 

– Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)


Milder winters and longer summers allow tree-killing insects to thrive. 

Environmental Defense Fund


We expect to see a higher frequency of Category 4 and 5 storms, also, as temperatures continue to rise.

– Environmental Defense Fund


The earth’s ocean temperatures are getting warmer, too—which means that tropical storms can pick up more energy. So global warming could turn, say, a category 3 storm into a more dangerous category 4 storm

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)


The effect of global warming on the frequency, intensity, size, and speed of hurricanes remains a subject of scientific research.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine



Much of this melting ice contributes to sea-level rise. Global sea levels are rising 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year, and the rise is occurring at a faster rate in recent years. Less freshwater will be available, since glaciers store about three-quarters of the world’s freshwater.

National geographic


Freshwater environments around the world are already under excessive pressure from drainage, dredging, damming, pollution, extraction, silting and invasive species. Climate change only exacerbates the problem and makes this worse. Extremes of drought and flooding will become more common, causing displacement and conflict.

World Wildlife Fund


What’s clear is that climate change is going to reshape every system made of water on Earth. That means that as the ocean warms, seafood safety will decline: Mercury will accumulate in fish, and the toxic bacteria Vibrio will become more common. And climate change will sicken people. In the Arctic, where indigenous people rely on seafood diets, food- and waterborne illnesses are already increasing.

The Atlantic


Plastic pollution has increased tenfold since 1980, 300-400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other wastes from industrial facilities are dumped annually into the world’s waters, and fertilizers entering coastal ecosystems have produced more than 400 ocean ‘dead zones’, totalling more than 245,000 km2 (591-595) – a combined area greater than that of the United Kingdom.

United Nations


The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.

IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson.


The importance of protecting the biodiversity of the whole ocean cannot be overstated, it is essential in combatting climate change and maintaining the life support system that makes our planet habitable. Currently, two-thirds of the ocean, almost half the planet, falls outside the protection of law and that’s why it is so important that we secure a new, robust High Seas treaty in 2020.

Peggy Kalas, Coordinator, High Seas Alliance


Climate change is having serious impacts on the world’s water systems through more flooding and droughts. Warmer air can hold a higher water content, which makes rainfall patterns more extreme.

World Wildlife Fund


Recent study demonstrates that ocean acidification is having a major impact on marine life. Studies at CO2 seeps worldwide have shown that reefs made by organisms with shells or skeletons, such oysters or corals, are sensitive to ocean acidification and that degraded reefs provide less coastal protection and less habitat for commercially important fish and shellfish. This amplifies the risks to marine goods and services from climate change causing shifts to seaweed dominance, habitat degradation and a loss of biodiversity in the tropics, the sub-tropics and on temperate coasts.

– Professor Jason Hall-Spencer, Professor of Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth


For the sake of ocean biodiversity and the food security of billions of people worldwide, governments should stop giving environmentally damaging fisheries subsidies, currently estimated at US$20 billion a year.

Professor Rashid Sumalia, University of British Columbia


The link between a stable climate system and the conservation of biodiversity is unequivocal. But even this study underplays the emergency facing rivers, wetlands and freshwater species – and how urgently we need to transform our management of the world’s priceless freshwater resources. Better governance and greater collective action, involving communities, corporates and cities, are critical. But the world also needs to start valuing water – and valuing healthy rivers for all the diverse benefits they provide people and nature.

Stuart Orr, Leader of WWF’s Global Freshwater practice


This assessment should erase any lingering doubts that the ocean is under enormous pressure. From coral reefs to mangroves, fish and marine wildlife populations, the science tells us we’re rapidly eroding the natural assets of our seas.

The report (IPBES Global Assessment Report) also makes clear that human wellbeing relies on a healthy ocean which means the challenge we face is clear, as are the solutions. Coastal communities need much greater assistance to protect their most productive habitats, including coral reefs and mangroves. This will also build their resilience to climate change. We must stop unsustainably mining our ocean’s fisheries or face the prospect of increasingly lifeless seas.

John Tanzer, leader of WWF’s global oceans practice


Governments must take on a much more ambitious and collaborative approach to protect and rebuild ocean wildlife populations and habitats from the coasts to the high seas. Investment in ocean conservation is a down payment on future human and economic health.’’

John Tanzer, leader of WWF’s global oceans practice


Three-quarters of the land-based environment and about 66% of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions. On average these trends have been less severe or avoided in areas held or managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.

– UN Report Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’


Warming oceans become increasingly acidified, stressing corals and causing bleaching and die-offs. 

State of the Planet Earth Institute Colombia University


Almost all warm-water coral reefs are projected to suffer significant losses of area and local extinctions, even if global warming is limited to 1.5°C.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)


From 2016 to 2018, half the coral in the Great Barrier Reef died. 

The Atlantic


Tropical coral reefs contain most of the ocean’s biodiversity: They are the so-called rainforests of the ocean. Yet they are dying more surely than the Amazon in Brazil –

The Atlantic

Did any of the quotes surprise, anger, or inspire you? Leave a comment down below of the quotes you resonated most with. And Don’t forget to share this post with friends and family, everyone needs to know the extent to which humans are contributing to climate change and how this in turn is affecting our Natural World.

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