Wildlife needs half of the planet to avoid ‘biological holocaust’

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson


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Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 By

A Pulitzer Prize winner and Harvard scientist has said that half of the Earth should be human-free and dedicated solely to the world’s wildlife In order to avoid mass extinction of species.

Prominent biologist and two times Pulitzer winner E.O. Wilson has suggested that half of our planet should be dedicated to the world’s animals, as the only way to avoid critical mass extinction.

85-year old Wilson is considered the father of sociobiology and is a leading expert in biodiversity. His work largely focuses on the extinction crisis and the role human societies played in mass extinctions of the 20th century.

Speaking to the Smithsonian Magazine, Wilson explained his ‘Half Earth theory’ to try stop what he calls a ‘biological holocaust’, the sixth mass extinction event caused by humans, which is wiping out species at an incredible pace.

Wilson said in the interview, “It’s been in my mind for years, that people haven’t been thinking big enough –even conservationists. Half Earth is the goal, but it’s how we get there, and whether we can come up with a system of wild landscapes we can hang onto.

“I see a chain of uninterrupted corridors forming, with twists and turns, some of them opening up to become wide enough to accommodate national biodiversity parks, a new kind of park that won’t let species vanish.”

As an example of effective wildlife protected corridor, Wilson named the Yellowstone-to-Yukon 2,000 miles conservation region, which covers an area from Wyoming in the US to the Yukon territories in Canada.

A study from earlier this year revealed that humans are causing species to disappear at 1,000 times the natural rate, mainly because of the destruction of habitats and hunting, in addition to the effects of manmade climate change.

How the Current Mass Extinction of Animals Threatens Humans

We seem indifferent to the mass extinction we’re causing, yet we lose a part of ourselves when another animal dies out.

Simon Worrall

for National Geographic http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/08/140820-extinction-crows-penguins-dinosaurs-asteroid-sydney-booktalk/

Published August 20, 2014

More species are becoming extinct today than at any time since dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the Earth by an asteroid 65 million years ago. Yet this bio-Armageddon, caused mainly by humans, is greeted by most of us with a yawn and a shrug. One fewer bat species? I’ve got my mortgage to pay! Another frog extinct? There are plenty more!

A photo of the cover of Thom Van Doreen's book, "Flight Ways—Life And Loss At The Edge of Extinction"

In his new book Australian anthropologist Thom Van Dooren tries to break through this wall of indifference by showing us how we’re connected to the living world, and how, when a species becomes extinct, we don’t just lose another number on a list. We lose part of ourselves.

Here he talks about grieving crows and urban penguins—and how vultures in India provide a free garbage-disposal service.

Your book is part of a new field of enquiry known as extinction studies. Can you give us a quick 101?

It’s an attempt to think about what role the humanities, and to some extent the social sciences, might play in engaging with the contemporary extinction crisis. In other words, how ethics, historical, and ethnographic perspectives can flesh out our notion of what extinction is and the way that different communities are differently bound up in extinction or potential solutions via conservation.

We live in a time of mass extinctions. How bad is it?

I think that it’s pretty widely accepted now that we’re living through the sixth massive extinction. The fifth one was 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs vanished. Today we’re losing biodiversity at a similar rate. And this is, of course, an anthropogenic mass extinction. The primary cause is human communities.

But what we’re trying to do in extinction studies is to think about scale in different ways. How the loss of a species is not just the loss of some abstract collection of organisms that we can add to a list but contributes to an unraveling of cultural and social relationships that ripples out into the world in different ways.

You say that despite this, there is very little public outcry. Are people just too overwhelmed by the enormity of the crisis? Or what?

I think there are lots of answers to that question. For some people it probably is overwhelming. People have “mourning fatigue.” But I think for most people it’s just a genuine lack of awareness about the rates of biodiversity loss that we’re experiencing.

There’s an even more important answer to the question, though, which is that we haven’t found ways to really understand why it is that extinction matters. We can talk about numbers and the loss of a white rhino or a kakapo. But we haven’t developed the kind of story that we need to explain why it is that it matters—what is precious and unique about each of those species.

You have a wonderful phrase, “telling lively stories about extinction.” What does that mean?

I was trying to get at two things. One is to tell stories that make a committed stand for the living world. The other is to tell stories that are themselves lively, that will draw people in and arouse a sense of curiosity and accountability for disappearing ways of life, so they might contribute to making a difference. Stories are one way we make sense of the world and decide what it is that matters and what it is we will invest our time and energy in trying to hold on to and take care of.

Flight Ways differs from many other books in that it’s less interested in the phenomenon itself than in our moral and emotional responses to the crisis.

I have a background in philosophy and anthropology. So I’m more interested in how we understand and live with extinction. I started out wanting to write a book about extinction in general. But what I found doing fieldwork with scientists and communities bound up with the disappearing birds I describe is that each extinction event is totally different. There isn’t a single extinction tragedy. Each case is a unique kind of unraveling, a unique set of losses and consequences that need to be fleshed out and come to terms with.

Tell us about “urban penguins.”

One of the last colonies on mainland Australia, only about 60 or 65 breeding pairs, live in what is the biggest harbor in Australia, Sydney, my hometown. Some of them even nest under the ferry wharf, which many people don’t know as they catch the ferry in and out of the mainland. They’re beautiful little birds, about one foot [30 centimeters] tall, and they’ve been coming here as long as there have been historical records. Thanks to the dedication and work of conservationists and volunteer penguin wardens, who make sure the birds aren’t harassed at night or attacked by dogs and foxes, they’ve managed to hang on.

So that’s a hopeful story?

Yes, I think in many ways it is a hopeful story. For the most part we’ve been talking about extinctions that are caused by people. But in this case living in proximity with humans seems to be working.

One of your bugbears is what you call human exceptionalism. What is that?

This is a concept used by philosophers to describe an attitude where humans are set apart from the rest of the natural world. A little bit special, and so not like the other animal species.

The Lords of Creation?

Exactly. Rather than thinking of ourselves as an animal, we have a long history, in the West at least, of thinking of ourselves as either the sole bearers of an immortal soul or a creature that is set apart by its rationality and its ability to manipulate and control the world.

There are a whole lot of consequences that flow on from that kind of an orientation to the world. And some of them are very damaging for our species and for the wider environment. By diagnosing and analyzing human exceptionalism, we can try to fit humans back into the “community of life,” as the philosopher Val Plumwood called it.

Extinctions affect us in complex ways. Tell us about the Gyps vulture of India.

That’s a particularly interesting case, which drove home to me how extinction matters differently to different communities. The Parsi community in Mumbai have traditionally exposed their dead to vultures in “towers of silence,” as they’re called in English. Now the vultures are disappearing. Estimates suggest that 97 to 99 percent of the birds have gone in the last few decades. So the Parsi community is left in a very difficult position of trying to figure out how to appropriately and respectfully take care of their own dead in a world without vultures.

Vultures are great at garbage disposal, aren’t they?

[Laughs.] They certainly are! It’s estimated that they clean up five to ten million camel, cow, and buffalo carcasses a year in India. And that is obviously a free service. [Laughs.]

They’ve also played an important role in containing disease of various kinds and controlling the number of predators that feed on those carcasses and spread other diseases, like rats or dogs. The worry now is that the decline in vultures may lead to rises in the numbers of scavengers and in the incidence of diseases like rabies and anthrax in India.

You wrap the idea of the importance of mourning the loss of a species into a chapter about the Hawaiian crow. Do crows really grieve?

Yes, I think there’s very good evidence to suggest that crows and a number of other mammals grieve for their dead, and we don’t quite know how to make sense of that. In part this is bound up in those issues of human exceptionalism—the notion that grieving is something that only humans do. But it’s clear from observations of different species around the world that crows do mourn for other crows. They notice their deaths, and those deaths impact on them. So the chapter is a provocation to us to pay attention to all of the extinctions that are going on around us, to take up the challenge of learning from them in a way that, I hope, leads us to live differently in the world.

The Hawaiian crow is another good news story, isn’t it?

That’s right, thanks to really dedicated work by the Hawaiian state government, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the San Diego Zoo. They’ve been looking after these birds and breeding them in captivity for decades, and they now have over a hundred birds.

But what they need is somewhere for them to be released. They need good forest, and there’s not a lot of good forest left in Hawaii. Introduced species, like pigs and goats, have largely destroyed the understory of a lot of Hawaiian forest. There are plans to fence some of these areas and remove the ungulates, so that the forest might be restored. It’s a work in progress. But something a lot of people are dedicating a lot of time and energy towards achieving.

Your book is also a clarion call to action. You write, “We are called to account for nothing less than the entirety of life on the planet.” What can a regular Joe like me do?

That’s a tough question, which I struggle with all of the time. It’s one of the reasons that I write and tell stories. I love to do it. It’s also something that I find challenging, and I think might contribute in some way. So all that I can suggest to others is that they find ways of contributing, which they feel similarly passionate about and which might contribute, even in some small way. I don’t think change comes from singular, world-changing events. I think it’s built slowly, piece by piece, by people who are passionate about the world.

Read other interesting stories in National Geographic’s Book Talk series.


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America’s Earliest Elmers Overhunted Elephants

Early Americans dined on four-tusked elephant relative, say scientists

Archaeologists have unearthed 13,400-year-old weapons crafted by the Clovis people mixed in with bones from an extinct elephant relative.

By Becky Oskin,

LiveScience Senior Writer July 15, 2014

  • A gomphothere jawbone as it was found in place, upside down, at the El Fin del Mundo site in Mexico. Vance Holliday/University of Arizona

     

There’s a new mega-mammal on the menu of America‘s first hunters.

On a ranch in northwestern Sonora, Mexico, archaeologists have discovered 13,400-year-old weapons mingled with bones from an extinct elephant relative called the gomphothere. The animal was smaller than mastodons and mammoths, but most had four sharp tusks for defense.

The new evidence puts the gomphothere in North America at the same time as a prehistoric group of paleo-Indians known as the Clovis culture, whose beautifully crafted projectile points helped bring down giant Ice Age mammals, including mammoths. This is the first time gomphothere fossils have been discovered with Clovis artifacts.

Recommended: Are you scientifically literate? Take our quiz

“The Clovis stereotypically went out and hunted mammoth, and now there’s another elephant on the menu,” said Vance Holliday, a co-author on the new study, published today (July 14) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2014/0715/Early-Americans-dined-on-four-tusked-elephant-relative-say-scientists

The American Dream turns into a Global Nightmare

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — The American Dream? Now a Global Nightmare? A ticking time bomb, a lethal virus spreading worldwide, could destroy the entire world, backfire, take down America and capitalism? Yes.

But, first, a little history: Five years ago Bill Gates and his Billionaires Club asked that question. But gave up. Here’s why.

Gates’ billionaires essentially asked: What do you think is the single, biggest ticking time bomb that will eventually take down global economies? The absolutely biggest one with a trigger mechanism that can ignite, set off a nuclear chain reaction that will throw a permanent wrench in global economic growth, ending capitalism, potentially destroying modern civilization as we know it.

Yes, that one. The one that — if not solved soon — renders all efforts to solve all other problems in the world irrelevant, futile and virtually impossible ever to solve. Yes, that one. What is the “big one?” Several alternative predictions have also been reported:

* Global wars? Pentagon warns warfare will define human life by 2020.

* Big Oil? Bill McKibben’s “End of Nature” prediction could ignite soon.

* Capitalism? Many progressives see capitalism destroying democracy.

* Inequality? Pope says inequality is the root of all social problems.

* Climate warming? 2,000 UN scientists warn humans are killing Earth.

* Technology? Robert Gordon says we can’t stop GDP falling to 1%.

Biggest risk? Guess again: Not warfare … not the inequality… not energy resource depletion … not global warming … not out-of-control capitalists … yes, all are important, all part of the domino effect, the chain reaction as the global clock winds down to zero.

Yes, five years ago the one-percenters thought they knew. Bill Gates and his Billionaires Club were certain, unanimous. Gates had brought together billionaire philanthropists in a supersecret meeting in Manhattan about the time the market last bottomed. Included: Buffett, Rockefeller, Soros, Bloomberg, Turner, Oprah and others. The London Times Online reported that during the afternoon session each spoke about their favorite charities.

Then, the big question: What was the underlying, core problem driving all their interests? The world’s biggest time-bomb?

Overpopulation said the billionaires. Too many people on Planet Earth.

True, the United Nations predicts that by 2050 global population will explode by as much as 40%, from more than 7 billion today to 10 billion. Overcrowding. Demanding. But as Scientific American repeatedly warns in special issues, population is “the most overlooked and essential strategy for achieving long-term balance with the environment.” The “third-rail” for politicians, ignored by the world’s political leaders.

Three delusions: the American Dream mutates into Global Nightmare

But there’s an even bigger problem that will peak and backfire as the American Dream goes viral. For a couple generations, spread by the economics of globalization, the American Dream has been exported, spreading the capitalism virus worldwide, accelerating global GDP growth, infecting every nation and individual with their own mind-set imbedded in the promise of the “perpetual prosperity” inherent in the American Dream.

The effect? Today capitalism, globalization, the new Global Dream, the virus is rapidly spreading, mesmerizing the brains of everyone … mass-producing new billionaires … global lists on Forbes, Bloomberg and CNBC report an explosion from 322 billionaires in 2000 to 1,847 in 2014… China now has 358 billionaires … Africa has 29, adding nine last year … today, 85 of the world’s richest billionaires make more that the 3.5 billion in the bottom half … Credit Suisse predicts 11 trillionaire families in the world by 2100.

But three self-destructive delusions dominate today’s billionaires:

1. Delusion 1: Perpetual economic growth on planet of limited resources

The Super Rich are trapped a classic delusion now ingrained in the collective unconscious of the world. They have ingested a self-destructive gene. They believe the same capitalism ideology that made them superrich will continue indefinitely, that economic growth is perpetual, even on a planet of clearly limited resources. This delusion is rampant in Exxon Mobil and the energy industries as they race ahead with an unsustainable business model that’s rapidly depleting nonreplaceable natural resources.

2. Delusion 2: New technologies will replace disappearing resources

The club of billionaires believes technology will overcome the limitations of resources and thus fuel the perpetual economic growth essential to create more and more billionaires, that some of this eternal prosperity will also trickle down to the world’s poorest 3.5 billion people. Economist Robert Gordon refutes that assumption in his rhetorical National Business Research Institute piece “Is U.S. Economic Growth Over?” Silicon Valley technology will never overcome all the headwinds reflected by today’s raging self-destructive political, economic and religious conflicts.

3. Delusion 3: Mutant Capitalists do not need to share the future

The new billionaires in America and worldwide have forgotten that the same capitalism that fueled the American Dream since 1776, that created the democracy supporting their accumulated billions, was a legacy that, in the past, also meant hope for the masses of Americans and all nations, that everyone, no matter how poor, had equal opportunities.

Unfortunately, as Jack Bogle warns, while spreading the American Dream we’re also a spreading a new Mutant Capitalism, a virus infecting superrich billionaires: Further widening the inequality gap, stifling opportunities for most Americans and people worldwide, hoarding the power, wealth and opportunities for those already in the top one percent, already listed among global billionaires.

Billions are in denial of their self-destructive delusions: “One of the disturbing facts of history is that so many civilizations collapse,” warns Jared Diamond, an evolutionary biologist, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” Many “civilizations share a sharp curve of decline. Indeed, a society’s demise may begin only a decade or two after it reaches its peak population, wealth and power.”

Harvard financial historian Niall Ferguson, author of “Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire,” was more dramatic, hard-hitting, immediate: The world will be caught by surprise, unprepared. The coming collapse will “accelerate suddenly, like a sports car … like a thief in the night.” Crashing. Shocking us wide awake.

Paradox of Prosperity: the Global Dream will also peak, collapse

Today we’re all being misled by these three delusions. As Diamond warns: “There are ‘optimists’ who argue that the world could support double its human population.” But he adds, they “consider only the increase in human numbers and not average increase in per-capita impact. But I have not heard anyone who seriously argues that the world could support 12 times it’s current impact.” But that’s exactly what happens with “all Third World inhabitants adopting First World standards.”

Every nation in the world has its own version of the American Dream, the new Global Dream. Everyone wants prosperity, success, opportunity. More is never enough, either individually or nationally. Not just 310 million Americans, but 7.3 billion people worldwide are demanding more, more … on a finite planet with dwindling natural resources, as economist Michael Klare warns in his book “The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for World’s Last Resources.”

Bottom line: As the world population explodes 40% in the next generation, “what really counts,” says Diamond, “is not the number of people alone, but their impact on the environment, the per-capita impact.” First World citizens “consume 32 times more resources such as fossil fuels, and put out 32 times more waste, than do the inhabitants of the Third World.” \

And it’s delusional to think this trend will disappear. It will get worse because billionaires are in massive denial about their delusions … the self-destructive Global Dream will continue … until a catastrophic black swan shocks us awake.

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What killed off the giant beasts – climate change or man?

Earth’s ‘megafauna’ vanished as tribes spread. Now palaeontologists are asking if early humans were the cause

[What the hell do they mean "Now?" We've known about the mass extinction of megafauna known as the American Blitzkrieg for decades...]

, science editor

    • The Observer,              Saturday 15 March 2014
Mammoth

Humans might have played a role in the extinction of the woolly mammoth. Photograph: Andrew Nelmerm/Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley

They were some of the strangest animals to walk the Earth: wombats as big as hippos, sloths larger than bears, four-tusked elephants, and an armadillo that would have dwarfed a VW Beetle. They flourished for millions of years, then vanished from our planet just as humans emerged from their African homeland.

It is one of palaeontology’s most intriguing mysteries and will form the core of a conference at Oxford University this week when delegates will debate whether climate change or human hunters killed off the planet’s lost megafauna, as these extinct giants are known.

“Creatures like megatherium, the giant sloth, and the glyptodon, a car-sized species of armadillo, disappeared in North and South America about 10,000 years ago, when there were major changes to climates – which some scientists believe triggered their extinctions,” said Yadvinder Malhi, professor of ecosystem science at Oxford, one of the organisers of the conference, Megafauna and Ecosystem Function.

“However, it is also the case that tribes of modern humans were moving into these creatures’ territories at these times – and many of us believe it is too much of a coincidence that this happened just as these animals vanished. These creatures had endured millions of years of climate change before then, after all. However, this was the first time they had encountered humans.”

Modern humans emerged from Africa around 70,000 years ago, travelled across Asia and reached Australia 50,000 years ago, a time that coincides with a wave of extinctions of creatures there, including the diprotodon, a species of wombat that grew to the size of a modern hippopotamus. By about 14,000 years ago, humans had reached North America by crossing the land bridge that then linked Siberia and Alaska. Then they headed south.

By 10,000 years ago, Homo sapiens had conquered North and South America at a time that coincided with major megafauna extinctions, including those of the giant sloth and the glyptodon.

“We think of Africa and south-east Asia – with their lions, elephants and rhinos – as the main home of large animals today, but until very recently in our planet’s history, huge creatures thrived in Australia, North America and South America as well,” said Professor Adrian Lister of the Natural History Museum in London. “The question is: why did they disappear in the new world but survive in the old world?

“Some believe it is because large animals in Africa and south-east Asia learned to become wary of human beings and decided to avoid them at all costs. However, I also think climate change may have been involved in the Americas and Australia and that humans only finished off these big animals when they were already weakened by loss of habitats and other climate-related problems.”

The idea that humans were involved in any way in eradicating dozens of species of giant animal when we were still hunter-gatherers has important implications in any case. It was thought, until relatively recently, that it was only when humans invented agriculture several thousand years ago that our species’ relationship with the natural world become unbalanced. Until then, humans had a close affinity with nature. But if ancient hunter-gatherers played a part in wiping out these species of huge animals as long as 50,000 years ago, humanity’s supposed innate harmony with the living world appears misplaced.

More to the point, humanity is still paying the price for the disappearance of the megafauna of the Americas and Australia, the Oxford conference will hear. “There is now a lot of evidence to suggest that large herbivores like gomphotheres, a family of elephant-like animals that went extinct in South America around 9,000 years, played a key role in spreading nutrition in areas like the Amazon. They would eat fruit in the forest, including avocados, and their excrement would then fertilise other areas. That no longer happens and places like the Amazon are today affected by low nutrition as a result,” Malhi said.

Another example is provided by the giant wombat, the diprotodon, which some scientists have argued browsed bush across Australia and kept biomass levels very low. When the diprotodon vanished, plants and shrubs across the outback grew unhindered. The result was major bush fires which, archaeologists have discovered, became a serious problem just after the giant wombat disappeared from Australia.

Diprotodon optatum from the Pleistocene of Australia.                Diprotodon, the largest known marsupial, which used to roam Australia. Photograph: AlamySimilarly, creatures such as the mammoth played a key role in trampling tundra and maintaining healthy grasslands in high latitudes such as Siberia. When the mammoth became extinct, the tundra took over to the detriment of the landscape.

“It is now becoming clear that lots of our understanding of contemporary ecology is incomplete because it does not take into account that ecosystems were adopted to having giant animals like the mammoth or the diprotodon,” added Malhi. “These are not natural systems today because they are missing key components to which most plants had adopted.”

This awareness has led some scientists to propose moving populations of the planet’s surviving large animals into regions where they could help restore the ecologies to their previous healthy conditions. One such experiment is being carried out by the ecologist Sergey Zimov at a nature reserve called Pleistocene Park in Siberia. Zimov has reintroduced musk ox, moose and other large animals and is attempting to find out if their browsing will restore the landscape to its previous healthy, grassy state. Zimov is also scheduled to speak at the Oxford conference. Other researchers go even further and have proposed bringing extinct megafauna back to life. For example, several scientists have suggested that it could be possible to clone a mammoth from frozen remains found in Siberia using an Asian elephant as a surrogate mother.

Lister was cautious about the prospects of such work, however. “I think people greatly underestimate the incredible difficulties involved. The mammoth corpses we have found are thousands of years old and we have yet to find one that possesses an entire, intact cell with a nucleus. Without that, you are going to find it very difficult to bring an animal like a mammoth back to life.”

In fact, the real lesson from the fate of the Earth’s megafauna is to appreciate how important surviving species are to our planet. Oxford University ecologist Emily Read, a conference organiser, said: “We need to protect the megafauna that we have. More than 20,000 elephants were killed in 2012 for ivory and rhino numbers are declining because their horns are traded, illegally, at more than the price of gold. It’s not just the cultural value of these large animals that we need to think about, but the fact that removing them affects the whole ecosystem.”

NASA-backed Study Says Humanity is Pretty Much Screwed

Hope you’ve enjoyed civilized life, folks. Because a new study sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center says the world’s industrial societies are poised to collapse under the weight of their own unsustainable appetites for resources. There goes the weekend . . . and everything after it for the rest of our lives.

The research article appears in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Ecological Economics, but Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, has a more understandable (but no less harrowing) summary over at The Guardian. Either way, the news isn’t good—as the researchers point out, history doesn’t seem to hold out any favor for advanced societies.

The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.

Who’s to blame? You. Me. Everyone walking around outside your window. Even the technology we invented to save us from ourselves is contributing to our decline.

Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.

Is there a way out? Of course. But you’re probably not gonna like it. Dr. Ahmed sums up the researchers’ suggestions:

The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth.

Which is just as difficult and improbable as it sounds.

Seriously, you should read the whole rundown of what the research says. It’s eye-opening, and a serious call to action—if the crushing bleakness of what we’ve done to ourselves hasn’t already doomed you to abandon all hope. Here, watch a funny video to make you feel better. [The Guardian]

Beasts Out of Tune

[I guess I've always know humans were bad for the planet. I wrote this back in 1979.]

We’ve broken all
of Mother Nature’s laws.
In her perfection                                                                       
we create the flaws.
We kick her, ungrateful,
like a child in the womb.

We could see the truth,
but avert our eyes.
Rule her like gods,
living shallow lives
on our self-appointed throne
we’re the beasts out of tune.

Out of tune,
nearly out of room.
Multiplying fast,
We’ll have to face Her soon.

She doesn’t complain
when we kick in the womb,
when we grow and grow
Take up so much room.
Her maternal love is our sanctuary.

But unless we love her in return
(as a spoiled child,
we must mature)
the kicks may cause her to miscarry.

Beasts out of tune,
the love must come soon.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Good News for the Earth: Humans Will Soon Be Extinct

http://www.eutimes.net/2010/06/human-race-will-be-extinct-within-100-years-claims-leading-scientist/

    on    Jun 21st, 2010

As the scientist who helped eradicate smallpox he certainly know a thing or two about extinction.

And now Professor Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, has predicted that the human race will be extinct within the next 100 years.

He has claimed that the human race will be unable to survive a population explosion and ‘unbridled consumption.’

Fenner told The Australian newspaper that ‘homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years.’

‘A lot of other animals will, too,’ he added.

‘It’s an irreversible situation. I think it’s too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off.’

Since humans entered an unofficial scientific period known as the Anthropocene – the time since industrialisation – we have had an effect on the planet that rivals any ice age or comet impact, he said.

Fenner, 95, has won awards for his work in helping eradicate the variola virus that causes smallpox and has written or co-written 22 books.

He announced the eradication of the disease to the World Health Assembly in 1980 and it is still regarded as one of the World Health Organisation’s greatest achievements.

He was also heavily involved in helping to control Australia’s myxomatosis problem in rabbits.

Last year official UN figures estimated that the world’s population is currently 6.8 billion. It is predicted to exceed seven billion by the end of 2011.

Fenner blames the onset of climate change for the human race’s imminent demise.

He said: ‘We’ll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island.

‘Climate change is just at the very beginning. But we’re seeing remarkable changes in the weather already.’

‘The Aborigines showed that without science and the production of carbon dioxide and global warming, they could survive for 40,000 or 50,000 years.

‘But the world can’t. The human species is likely to go the same way as many of the species that we’ve seen disappear.’

A map of the world from an atlas which concentrates on population rather than land mass released last year. The Earth’s population is due to hit 7bn by next year

Retired professor Stephen Boyden, a colleague of Professor Fenner, said that while there was deep pessimism among some ecologists, others had a more optimistic view.

‘Frank may well be right, but some of us still harbour the hope that there will come about an awareness of the situation and, as a result the revolutionary changes necessary to achieve ecological sustainability.’

Simon Ross, the vice-chairman of the Optimum Population Trust, said: ‘Mankind is facing real challenges including climate change, loss of bio-diversity and unprecedented growth in population.’

Professor Fenner’s chilling prediction echoes recent comments by Prince Charles who last week warned of ‘monumental problems’ if the world’s population continues to grow at such a rapid pace.

And it comes after Professor Nicholas Boyle of Cambridge University said that a ‘Doomsday’ moment will take place in 2014 – and will determine whether the 21st century is full of violence and poverty or will be peaceful and prosperous.

in the last 500 years there has been a cataclysmic ‘Great Event’ of international significance at the start of each century, he claimed.

In 2006 another esteemed academic, Professor James Lovelock, warned that the world’s population may sink as low as 500 million over the next century due to global warming.

He claimed that any attempts to tackle climate change will not be able to solve the problem, merely buy us time.

Source

What Goes Up…

To all those of breeding age who are considering starting a family or adding yet another human child to this already dangerously over-crowded world, I politely urge you, with all due respect, to please think again. If not for the fragile planet’s sake or for the sake of every other struggling life form headed for mass extinction, then for the child’s sake, your sake and for sanity’s sake. Go ahead and adopt, whether human or non-human, but please don’t add to every environmental woe known to—and caused by—man by falling prey to the ill-advised notion that propagating is our duty or prerogative.

The world as we know it is headed for collapse. Do you really want your precious offspring to witness the unraveling of all of Earth’s systems or suffer the reckoning that’s soon to befall those unfortunate enough to be here when humankind’s self-serving environmental crimes come back on them? Can’t you see that the sheer weight of the human race is crushing everything and everyone else?

As a good friend, a young woman wise beyond her years, put it, those who consider reproducing to be a positive prospect for the twenty-first century “must be closing their eyes, plugging up their ears, and singing ‘Lalalala!’ very loudly.”

What goes up must come down, people; and for the past couple of hundred years or so, the human population has been accelerating skyward—breaking all sound barriers in a headlong quest to defy gravity, burst out of the Earth’s atmosphere and sail on to oblivion—taking all of creation with it.

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