Earth’s Extinction Crisis- Warning Signs

| February 12, 2019 | Leave a Comment

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Silence in the Serengeti. Barren rainforests in Brazil. Some say this is the future Earth faces if we don’t reverse course. We’re losing animal species at an unprecedented rate, but are we really in the midst of a sixth mass extinction? Join Kait and guests Dr. Paul Ehrlich, President of the Stanford Center for Conservation Biology, and Mike Gunton, Creative Director of Natural History for the BBC, as they weigh the case for the sixth great mass extinction and uncover the causes.

Access the podcast here. 


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The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.
  • Ronnie Hawkins

    It is kind of interesting to come across a position like this on the MAHB website–I haven’t checked into it in quite a while so this could be fun. Please, trilemmaman, update yourself a little on the state of the planet. We humans have already taken over more than half of the Earth’s land surface for our food system, we are transgressing at least three “planetary boundaries” and encroaching on the other six, we’ve already eliminated more than 90% of the large fish in the oceans, knocked down the biomass of all terrestrial wild mammals to less than 2% of the combined mass of us humans and our cattle–and you think we don’t have human overpopulation? Learn some science. And if you think that some sort of mechanistic engineering program can come anywhere close to simulating the vast complexity of the Biosphere and thereby support 20-30 billion people at any standard of living, you’re living in a fantasy world. The denial must be so thick–I can understand the intensity of the cognitive dissonance you will feel if you let in just a peek at reality, but we’re all going to have to face up to it very soon, so, like I say, I’m interested in how you would defend your position in this day and age. I notice you don’t say anything about climate change, falling back on the old finger-pointing of “it’s population!–no, it’s consumption!–no, it’s population!–no, it’s consumption! that is SOOO out of date now–so obviously a cover for both sides DOING VIRTUALLY NOTHING about either of these excesses–since it’s BOTH of these things, and a situation that transgresses lots of old boundaries, with “developing” countries, many with already huge and some with still-burgeoning populations now “consuming” nonhuman animals and their body parts in species-annihilating numbers, for food and for profit. Oh, but I see you think we humans, at 20-30 billion strong, would still be “doing good” in the world, after we’ve consumed or otherwise destroyed every last living nonhuman being in the world, hmmm? Hey, don’t you know anthropocentrism is the new racism? I agree with you that it’s time we got over making and using weaponry–It’s time we started thinking AS A SPECIES in relation to OTHER SPECIES, and stopped all this fighting among our various national, cultural, etc subgroupings. Because we need to start thinking about how we’re going to survive AS A SPECIES. If you want a role for engineering, I’ve heard that carbon capture might possibly be scaled up enough to avert the looming state shift–if we STOP NOW all the escalating activities that increase the output of carbon and more planetary takeover everywhere–and convert all the wasted effort and energy we put into waging war and spying on each other into making a serious effort to undo as much as we can of the damage we have already done. At the very least, we ought to go out trying, and being honest with ourselves about what happened.

  • trilemmaman

    Dr. Ehrlich goes off again on “Over Population” without reference to the destruction of consumption patterns that are the real environmental problem. Under current consumption patterns the earth’s natural systems cannot sustain a population of one billion. But if humankind adopted nature’s systems in engineering our systems the earth could sustain at least 20 -30 billion people, all living at a higher and healthier standard of living than today. But it would require a transformation of our human values to put the emphasis on health and doing good, instead of wealth and feeling/looking good. Given the evolution of weaponry and the lack of evolution of our governments capacity to deal with ANY global problem… the chance of the human population experiencing a massive die off from some type of weapon (bio, cyber, nano, nuclear) or natural pandemic due to greed and lack of water, sanitation, education and basic health services for half the world’s population while the other half suffers from obesity and insanity. …I think you get the point. And if you don’t AI will. And then our only hope is that AI will achieve the wisdom we haven’t and find a way to hold all irresponsible humans accountable for their crimes…including the spread of misinformation like “over population”, “peace through strength”, or “Market forces will solve the problem.”.