One million plant & animal species at risk of extinction

As usual, no mention of birth control or carrying capacity.

Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report

Plumer, B. 2019. Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace. New York Times.

Extinction rates are tens to hundreds of times higher than they have been in the past 10 million years.

Over the past 50 years, global biodiversity loss has primarily been driven by activities like the clearing of forests for farmland, the expansion of roads and cities, logging, hunting, overfishing, water pollution and the transport of invasive species around the globe.

All told, three-quarters of the world’s land area has been significantly altered by people, the report found, and 85 percent of the world’s wetlands have vanished since the 18th century.

Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.

The 1,500-page report, compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies, is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that creates for human civilization.

Its conclusions are stark. In most major land habitats, from the savannas of Africa to the rain forests of South America, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century. With the human population passing 7 billion, activities like farming, logging, poaching, fishing and mining are altering the natural world at a rate “unprecedented in human history.”

At the same time, a new threat has emerged: Global warming has become a major driver of wildlife decline, the assessment found, by shifting or shrinking the local climates that many mammals, birds, insects, fish and plants evolved to survive in. When combined with the other ways humans are damaging the environment, climate change is now pushing a growing number of species, such as the Bengal tiger, closer to extinction.

As a result, biodiversity loss is projected to accelerate through 2050, particularly in the tropics, unless countries drastically step up their conservation efforts.

The report is not the first to paint a grim portrait of Earth’s ecosystems. But it goes further by detailing how closely human well-being is intertwined with the fate of other species.

“For a long time, people just thought of biodiversity as saving nature for its own sake,” said Robert Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services,which conducted the assessment at the request of national governments. “But this report makes clear the links between biodiversity and nature and things like food security and clean water in both rich and poor countries.”

previous report by the group had estimated that, in the Americas, nature provides some $24 trillion of non-monetized benefits to humans each year. The Amazon rain forest absorbs immense quantities of carbon dioxide and helps slow the pace of global warming. Wetlands purify drinking water. Coral reefs sustain tourism and fisheries in the Caribbean. Exotic tropical plants form the basis of a variety of medicines.

But as these natural landscapes wither and become less biologically rich, the services they can provide to humans have been dwindling.

Humans are producing more food than ever, but land degradation is already harming agricultural productivity on 23 percent of the planet’s land area, the new report said. The decline of wild bees and other insects that help pollinate fruits and vegetables is putting up to $577 billion in annual crop production at risk. The loss of mangrove forests and coral reefs along coasts could expose up to 300 million people to increased risk of flooding.

The authors note that the devastation of nature has become so severe that piecemeal efforts to protect individual species or to set up wildlife refuges will no longer be sufficient.

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2 Responses to One million plant & animal species at risk of extinction

  1. Sheila Chambers says:

    “As usual, no mention of birth control or carrying capacity.”
    Yes, they only harp about the symptoms but NEVER mention the CAUSE!
    We even have RULERS who are still pushing for MORE DAM GROWTH in consumption & population! They want to force MORE FEMALES to have MORE BABIES!!!!
    Here in the USSA, many southern states where the most IGNORANT & SUPERSTITIOUS people exist, their banning ABORTIONS, their making birth control more difficult to access & sex “education” is only for ABSTINENCE!
    Capatilism is the cause of this endless, irrational push for ever more GROWTH which is why capatilism must GO!
    We need a economic system that doesn’t need growth to function but I fear we will collapse well before any meaningful changes could be made.

  2. A coal miner of early coal in Britain needed a doctor and a family to support him.

    An oil digger in early Pennsylvania oil needed a dentist and a family to function – like a human-being

    The doctor needed a teacher, the teacher needed a plumber…

    Economics needed more than one digger for more coal and oil, being the only master value-item in the whole economy. Some of the extra oil and coal went to make a steam engine, and some to run it.

    Both activities needed more people…

    The thesis that humans have made an advantage of fossil fuels and grew in population – is an up-side-down understanding of what has really happened in the 300 years-long story of fossil fuels and people.

    Fossil fuels, in the hands of Economics, treating fossil fuels as infinite, what has dug most of the 7 billion humans to existence today, not humans who have dug up fossil fuels.

    This is largely similar to when the Hoover Dam project needed more people, so a town for them was built.

    How many insects and wildlife have been killed in that project?

    Humans today are mainly oil, coal and natural gas drillers, despite only a minority of them take that a profession.

    To extract 100 million barrels of oil daily, billions of tonnes of coal annually, and atmospheres of natural gas every day – and consume them (for the sake of Economics) – the minimum population required to execute that colossal task now appears to be 7+ billion people!

    See here the scale of machinery, energy, supplies and human efforts required to extract few barrels of oil daily (link).

    It was a colossal mistake by Economics extracting and burning almost all finite, gold-grade, once-only fossil fuels at once in a mere 300 years – risking a return to the age of slavery, harsher and inhumane than any time before.

    When fossil fuels have not peaking yet, building highways, nuclear reactors, making more 747s, etc – were promoted as the way of the future.

    After peaking, humans are promoted now being the problem!

    This is no different from when Stalin in the USSR declared no soldier falling in the hands of Germans – a war prisoner – deserves life!

    And this is Communism.

    “Humans can not manufacture Energy.

    Energy, like time, flows from past to future“.

    Time has come to consider fossil fuels are finite, not like any other stuff that can be traded on the basis of supply and demand.

    Time has come to rewrite the Magna Carta from scratch, leaving in it a space for Energy.

    This should be done before talking about Capitalism-must-go – when nobody knows whether what we really live in is Capitalism or Communism-disguised-Capitalism – all along!

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