Worst case scenarios played out. Welcome to Hell, all future life.
At least we got cheap energy, and that’s really all the matters. /s
David Roberts response.
Sounds about right.
Michael Mann takes issue with the NY MAG piece:
I thought about making a new thread for this, because it’s not just climate change that’s wrecking our environment. The biodiversity loss and species extinction rate just in my lifetime is beyond any words I know to describe. (Pangolins cited here are literally being eaten to death. In the 21st century.)
But here’s the latest academic study:
From the common barn swallow to the exotic giraffe, thousands of animal species are in precipitous decline, a sign that an irreversible era of mass extinction is underway, new research finds.
The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, calls the current decline in animal populations a “global epidemic” and part of the “ongoing sixth mass extinction” caused in large measure by human destruction of animal habitats. The previous five extinctions were caused by natural phenomena.
Gerardo Ceballos, a researcher at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City, acknowledged that the study is written in unusually alarming tones for an academic research paper. “It wouldn’t be ethical right now not to speak in this strong language to call attention to the severity of the problem,” he said.
Dr. Ceballos emphasized that he and his co-authors, Paul R. Ehrlich and Rodolfo Dirzo, both professors at Stanford University, are not alarmists, but are using scientific data to back up their assertions that significant population decline and possible mass extinction of species all over the world may be imminent, and that both have been underestimated by many other scientists.
The study’s authors looked at reductions in a species’ range — a result of factors like habitat degradation, pollution and climate change, among others — and extrapolated from that how many populations have been lost or are in decline, a method that they said is used by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
They found that about 30 percent of all land vertebrates — mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians — are experiencing declines and local population losses. In most parts of the world, mammal populations are losing 70 percent of their members because of habitat loss.
In particular, they cite cheetahs, which have declined to around 7,000 members; Borneo and Sumatran orangutans, of which fewer than 5,000 remain; populations of African lions, which have declined by 43 percent since 1993; pangolins, which have been “decimated”; and giraffes, whose four species now number under 100,000 members.
It’s actually “Deez knutts”
[quote=“MrGrumpy, post:3466, topic:70401, full:true”]
I thought about making a new thread for this, because it’s not just climate change that’s wrecking our environment. The biodiversity loss and species extinction rate just in my lifetime is beyond any words I know to describe. (Pangolins cited here are literally being eaten to death. In the 21st century.) [/quote]
So much attention these days (from people who have a brain, at least) is on global warming, which is fair, but as you note there is another environmental issue that is causing unspeakable loss to our planet.
The past five years I have done alot of travelling around wildlife areas: Africa, the Pantanal, Polar Bears in the Arctic, Outback Australia, reefs, etc. and it has enriched my life beyond anything else I have used money to purchase (yes, including videogames!). Animals are more precious than any gadget, and their habitats are more beautiful than any city. Yet as a species we are further isolating ourselves from the many varieties of life, and relentlessly destroying them all for the sake of dead objects that will end up in landfill before long.
Unlike climate change there is also something fun that everyone (fortunate enough to have money) can do to make meaningful change and that is to visit Africa. Tanzania, Botswana, and Zambia are all amazingly beautiful and safe countries filled with the most majestic and unbelievable animals you will ever see. YMMV of course, but going on safari was more exciting and fun for me than any city I have explored. Travelling to see these things will give the government a financial incentive to protect the little we have left, and also help the local people. Hit me up here or on private message if you would like recommendations or have logistical questions on the best way to do this. I am starting to sound like a travel agent so i’ll stop!
Thanks for sharing Tim. And it’s a good thing to sound like a travel agent!
I’ve never been able to articulate my feelings (even after reading e.g. the likes of Muir, Leopold, Thoreau) but just knowing such places exist has always made me happier. Hard to explain.
Alas I cannot take you up on your offer as my excursions are more limited (not the least of which is financial) but ecotourism can be as you say very beneficial. It really just saddens me to know that in a generation or two, ecosystems and habitats will be so fragmented a lot of wildlife will be gone. Tragically ironic that billions are spent looking for life in the Universe (a good thing, don’t get me wrong) but here on Earth we’re wiping out our only companions.
But to leave on a positive note - here’s a camera trap in Siberia capturing a tiger and her cub: (edit: crap, didn’t render but I’ll post a picture … more like that at the link)
When I was in high school, I went snorkeling with a friend, and we saw a seahorse hanging around on a reef. When we came up, he was freaking out. I learned that he didn’t realize that seahorses we’re a real animal. He thought they were made up, like unicorns.
Whenever I think about the shit like the star nosed mole, or armadillos, or really any megafauna, I think about “if you didn’t know this was real, how likely would you think it is that this sort of animal could exist?” Like, look at the reports and sketches sent to Victorian England about encountering the first rhinoceros.
It saddens me that, inevitably, future generations won’t hardly believe these things were ever real.
To be fair, if someone described its biology to you and you hadn’t heard about them before, you’d think they were bullshitting you. And then if you showed them a picture of a leafy seadragon they’d laugh in your face.
A sea-unicorn, yesterday:
Wow, the creature editor from Spore really allows for some neat customization, doesn’t it?
Wow, that’s awesome. I can’t imagine what that felt like for him.
I think these things a lot when I see weird creatures and I sometimes try to look at certain familiar creatures objectively, including us. I follow Strange_Animals on Twitter though, and it blows my mind what’s out there. I sometimes think to myself ‘If this was in a movie or game, the audience wouldn’t buy it.’
I’m also reminded of:
“We may even find out why the duck-billed platypus.*
*Not why is it anything. Just why it is.”
― Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent
Top coal industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler is likely to be tapped as the No. 2. official at the Environmental Protection Agency, according to two people familiar with the decision-making process.
Tapped for the #3 spot:
I enjoyed this blog post, being the nerd that I am, refuting the “the climate has always changed” argument that anthropogenic climate change isn’t a problem and/or doesn’t exist. Of course, it’s not really important to have rational arguments for the kind of people who make that argument since they’re very unlikely to listen anyway, but it’s nice to have.