Thursday, June 25, 2015

"We have no one but ourselves to blame."

"We are effectively undoing the beauty and the variety and the richness of the world which has taken tens of millions of years to reach."- Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

                 In the last 100 years scientists worldwide concur extinctions would not be taking place without human activity. The extraordinary acceleration of species extinction rates is far from a natural occurrence. The Holocene or Sixth Extinction includes a  large number of  families of plants and animals such as birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. The International Union for the Conservation of  Natural Resources   confirms the vast majority of 875 extinctions occurring between  the years of 1500 and 2009 were undocumented. The present rate of extinction may rise to a phenomenal 140,000 species per year.

    The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History  is a  Pulitzer Prize  winning general non-fiction (Henry Holt & Company 2014) book written by American journalist,  Elizabeth Kolbert. Recently Kolbert stated in a National Geographic interview:

 "We are now changing the climate, very, very rapidly, by geological standards. We are changing the chemistry of all the oceans. We are changing the surface of the planet. We cut down forests, we plant mono-culture agriculture, which is not good for a lot of species. We’re overfishing. The list goes on and on."

When asked if its possible for human beings to slow down the damage Kolbert bluntly expressed,

"The sort of fundamental question is, can 7.3 —going toward 8, going to 9 billion people —live on this planet with all of the species that are now still around? Or are we on a collision course, in part because we consume a lot of resources that other creatures also would like to consume? That’s a question I can’t answer."       
         But our own survival depends on the survival of these species which is the greatest cause for alarm.  Researchers at Stanford University, Princeton and Berkeley, affirmed vertebrates were disappearing at a rate 114 times faster than any time in recorded history. Such a loss would normally be seen over a period of up to 10,000 years, scientists say. Their findings replicate those found in a report published by Duke University last year. Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich, who can be seen in the video above declared,

      "There are examples of species all over the world that are essentially the walking dead. We are sawing off the limb that we are sitting on."

 *A special wish goes out to my brother Steve on the 26th. Yes, I inadvertently managed a monkey card for your birthday. Love you.*

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