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WASHINGTON: Overconsumption of the world’s natural resources is unsustainably cutting into its ecological “capital,” revered British naturalist David Attenborough warned on Thursday.

“Financial systems have a lot in common with natural world systems. Both are economies,” Attenborough said during the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

“If you deal with your investment... it’s fine if you can take the profit, you take the investment, but you wouldn’t be so silly as to eat into the capital. But that is what we’re doing with the natural world all the time.” The BAFTA winner and long-time presenter of BBC wildlife documentaries spoke with IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

He said human beings and their domesticated animals now accounted for 96 percent of the global mass of all mammals.

“We’ve eliminated the rest,” he said. “Seventy percent of all bird species have gone. We are in terrible, terrible trouble.” “I find it difficult to exaggerate the peril that we are in. We are in the process of a new fresh extinction which we know all about from geological time,” said Attenborough.

“This is the new extinction — and we’re halfway through it.” Early colonists in North America did not understand how their consumption of one species affected populations of others, he added.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2019