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.It is comforting to hear that it is irreversible, because then we should not have a big political debate over what to do about it.
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” ...Not alarmists? The Wikipedia page for Paul R. Ehrlich starts:
Gerardo Ceballos, ... 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 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.
Paul Ralph Ehrlich (born May 29, 1932) is an American biologist, best known for his warnings about the consequences of population growth ...The Population Bomb started:
Ehrlich became well known for his controversial 1968 book The Population Bomb, which asserted that the world's human population would soon increase to the point where mass starvation ensued. Among the solutions he suggested in that book was population control, to be used in his opinion if voluntary methods were to fail. Ehrlich has been criticized for his opinions; for example, Ronald Bailey termed Ehrlich an irrepressible doomster.
The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate...If this is not alarmism, what is?
Back to the NY Times article:
Conservatively, scientists estimate that 200 species have gone extinct in the past 100 years; the “normal” extinction rate over the past two million years has been that two species go extinct every 100 years because of evolutionary and other factors.We have many millions of species on Earth. I suspect that the normal extinction rate is a lot higher.
Dr. Ehrlich, who rose to prominence in the 1960s after he wrote “The Population Bomb,” a book that predicted the imminent collapse of humanity because of overpopulation, said he saw a similar phenomenon in the animal world as a result of human activity.Maybe they have a responsibility to report the data, but to inject their personal political opinions into their science papers?
“There is only one overall solution, and that is to reduce the scale of the human enterprise,” he said. “Population growth and increasing consumption among the rich is driving it.” ...
Dr. Ehrlich, however, continued to sound the alarm. “We’re toxifying the entire planet,” he said.
When asked about the clear advocacy position the paper has taken, a rarity in scientific literature, he said, “Scientists don’t give up their responsibility as citizens to say what they think about the data that they’re gathering.”
Erlich appears to be blaming population growth among the rich, but that is false. Rich folks are barely reproducing at all. If anything, the blame belongs to population growth among the poor who are reproducing at higher rates, and increasing their consumption and ecological impact.
Erlich is a leftist, so he avoids putting his finger on the problem, but the main extinction problem areas are in Africa, India, and China. They are essentially the same places as the runaway human population growth.