The next mass extinction

Posted on Monday, December 14th, 02009 by Kirk Citron
link Categories: Long News   chat 0 Comments

The Long News: stories that might still matter fifty, or a hundred, or ten thousand years from now.

Hollywood notwithstanding, it seems fairly unlikely that mankind will be wiped out in 02012. But unfortunately, tales of mass extinction turn out to have some basis in reality; some even say we are already in the midst of a sixth great planetary catastrophe. The difference this time is that the culprit isn’t an asteroid, or a volcanic eruption: it’s us.

Some recent news stories about threats to biodiversity:

1. The most dangerous animal is man:
It’s nature’s law: when people arrive, animals vanish
More than 800 wildlife species now extinct
Species census reveals extinction threat
New list highlights animals threatened by climate change
Loss of top predators causing surge in smaller predators, ecosystem collapse
Mankind using Earth’s resources at alarming rate

2. On the other hand, maybe things will turn around:
New findings show a quick rebound from marine mass extinction event
Antarctica served as climatic refuge in Earth’s greatest extinction event
Australian dust storms feed life explosion

3. Why we might care:
Animal biodiversity keeps people healthy

4. Not to worry, evolution will make more:
Study catches two bird populations as they split into separate species

We invite you to submit Long News story suggestions here.

  • Yvo De Boer and the leaders of Copenhagen Climate Change Conference are engaged in “the good fight” at the last, best opportunity for human civilization to save the planet for the children and coming generation as a fit place for human habitation. Years ago I was told that my generation had a duty to leave the world a better place than what is was when it was given to us by our forefathers and foremothers. It goes without saying that my not-so-great generation of greed-mongering elders will fall woefully short of discharging its responsibilities. Come what may for the children. Too many arrogant and selfish leaders in a single generation have recklessly chosen to fight wrongful wars for wrongheaded reasons, at a cost of blood and treasure that is as astounding in its stupidity as it is incalculable to measure.

  • mpatmahoney

    Over 95% of all species that have ever existed reached extinction before humans entered the picture.

    We can only hope that we as a species are here to stay, which means that others, many others will also go extinct because of us. Would you prefer that the equation tilted the opposite direction? Compassion is no defense against a starving bear or lion.

    Ecosystem collapse/opportunities arise, one begets the other. Niches created will be filled and/or evolved into.

    Our long-view task is at the very least to seek an enviroment that will sustain human life. We can hope and strive for a future that has room for many other species, but we must be prepared for the possibility that those may be merely dometisticated varieties and countless parasites and opportunists.

    While very human, self-loathing and blame-game reactions are emotionally driven, self-destructive behaviors which hinder the development of a true long-term strategy for survival and prosperity.

    Thanks for the blog. I will follow with much interest.

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