Environment Page

Humanity is an extinction event....what does this say about our place in this world? The most trivial whims of humanity such as a fur coat, or palm oil to sate our fat laden appetites, are more important to us than the entire existence of species of unique and beautiful creatures.

Before the modern human, the rate of species extinction was estimated at around 1 per million per century. Currently it may be as high as several per day. This is a crime of scarcely believable proportions. This article (from which I have removed some lines) from Rueters sets out the unimaginable.

"Half of all the Earth's species could vanish over the next 50 to 100 years"

"It takes the Earth about 10 million years to recover from the mass extinction of plant or animal species - far longer than previously thought, two scientists reported."

"And it takes the environment just as long to recover from the extinction of even a few species, small events which nevertheless rip holes in the biosphere that are impossible ever to fully repair."

""What we were looking for is the point at which entire ecosystems recover. The baseline is an average of 10 million years.""

"The study by Weil and James Kirchner, an environmental scientist at the University of California-Berkeley, comes amid predictions that as much as half of all the Earth's species could vanish over the next 50 to 100 years."

""If we deplete Earth's biological diversity, we will leave a biologically impoverished planet, not only for our children and our children's children, but for all the children of our species that there will ever be," he said."

"Kirchner stressed that their sobering findings do not necessarily mean that the multitude of plants and animals currently endangered by human activity are necessarily doomed for ever."

""It's cause for concern, and it's a cause for caution, but its not a cause for depression," Kirchner said. "It is not preordained. Whether it happens depends on the choices we make....We can chose not to let it happen.""

"But he added that the speed with which fragile environments are being overrun meant the choice would have to be made soon. Many species, in fact, are disappearing from the Earth before human scientists can even catalogue them, he said."

It is not just animal species too, we are suffering plant loss at an equally alarming rate.

Even the plants and animals we have domesticated are being slowly wittled away, replaced by a handful of commercially successful species. This Associated Press article refers just to domestic plant varieties :

"WASHINGTON (AP) - With thousands of plant species nearing extinction, the world's farmers are losing valuable crop alternatives. In the United States, more than 80% of seed varieties sold a century ago no longer are available, according to a report released Saturday. Even crops that may not be producing or seem undesirable could one day help fight against human disease, develop more-resistant varieties or respond to future conditions, said Worldwatch Institute researcher John Tuxill, the report's author. The report says more plant species are threatened in the United States than any other country - 4,669, or 29% of all varieties. Next is Australia with 2,245 species threatened, followed by South Africa with 2,215. Worldwide, more than 30,000 plant species are threatened. The report echoes long-held concerns about dwindling plants in nature and says a decline in cultivated varieties is a serious loss for agriculture."

You can also read about the loss of ape species in another article on my site, and a million more other species on the internet. I believe that the effect we are having on the environment is a reflection of what we are. That we live in such destructive disharmony with our environment, is a clearer sign of meaning than all the manufactured philosophies of humanity.

I have to question much of the current academic response to this problem, though I do not question their good intent. Whilst the efforts of zoos and captive breeding programmes are perhaps sadly necessary, we don't need endless slightly varying studies into the lifestyle of species of birds who's habitat is being eroded by urban sprawl and livestock farming. We know what is wrong and what we must do, we need to stop destroying their habitat.

That is where the majority of our efforts should be going, to interfering as little as possible in our ecological environment. This is one of the major challenges for humanity if we are to stop being an extinction event, and start being caretakers of this world.

By Cameron

Cameron Green
Last Updated - Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:04:32 -0600