The world risks losing new medical treatments for osteoporosis, cancer and other human ailments if it does not act quickly to conserve the planet’s biodiversity, a senior United Nations environmental official said Wednesday.
Earth’s organisms offer a variety of naturally made chemical compounds with which scientists could develop new medicines, but are under threat of extinction, said Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program.
“We must do something about what is happening to biodiversity,” Steiner told reporters. “We must help society understand how much we already depend on diversity of life to run our economies, our lives, but more importantly, what are we losing in terms of future potential.”