Human Impacts Causing Great Dying on Earth

By Patricia Randolph

“I do not think we in any way should feel complacent that we are not on the list of possible extinctions.” ~ Richard Leakey, paleontologist

“Every day that passes the world is in worse shape.

“Humans are in the process of destroying more species on earth in this 100 years than have gone extinct in the past 65 million years. We hear overwhelming statistics and we dissociate. Earth is in human-caused crisis on almost every level – overpopulation of humans doing the wrong things in energy and mining extraction, poisoned and genetically altered food supplies, accelerating climate change, and destroying biodiversity to a tipping point of collapse.

“Politics operates within the framework that humans are the lords of creation, and all life and the natural world are just a commodity for our abuse and consumption. In 1950, 2.5 billion people walked the planet. Now, 64 years later, we have nearly tripled our numbers, with no policies in place to quell our breeding. Heck – not just no policies – no discussion. We need a moratorium on human pregnancy. We act like other populations should be managed, but not our own?

“It is not just overpopulation – it is also the rate of consumption. A child born in the United States consumes as much as 15 children in poor countries. But the developing world is also exploding into consumption. The lifestyle of “modern” industrial society is now served by tar sands development covering an area greater than the state of New York where Canadian boreal forests recently sustained life.

“Amazon deforestation is even faster than Canada in the rush to grow feed for global meat consumption.

“Poisoned, genetically manipulated food supplies and exhausted aquifers service the human confinement of 60 billion farm animals globally moved annually to slaughter.

“The 7-year-old “Call of Life” documentary puts it in stark terms: “Natural systems that have been stable for millions of years are in turmoil.”

“It’s people carrying out the most basic of human activities that is causing all these things we share the planet with to disappear forever,” laments Gretchen Daily, director of the Tropical Research Center at Stanford University. She says it is hard to wrap our minds around our driving into oblivion so many species evolved over millions of years as our only known living companions in the universe. We are likely to wipe out half of the estimated 10 million species on earth in this century.

“The film explores how many people will die from the loss of biodiversity. It is estimated to be billions from loss of ecosystem services and the web of life that supports us.”

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