The Global Solution to Extinction – The New York Times

GR:  In this article, E. O. Wilson gives numerical estimates of the relationship between the protected area of the Earth’s surface and the number of wildlife species saved. Wilson’s estimates are probably very conservative. They probably do not include predicted impacts of global warming.

We have to respond. One thing we can all do is insure that Progressives sweep the upcoming elections. We need them to guide the U. S. and other countries to take action for nature conservation of the drastic intensity needed to protect nature and insure that human civilization can continue to advance.

“DURING the summer of 1940, I was an 11-year-old living with my family in a low-income apartment in Washington, D.C. We were within easy walking distance of the National Zoo and an adjacent strip of woodland in Rock Creek Park. I lived most of my days there, visiting exotic animals and collecting butterflies and other insects with a net that I had fashioned from a broom handle, coat hanger and cheesecloth. I read nature books, field guides and past volumes of National Geographic. I had already conceived then of a world of life awaiting me, bottomless in variety.

“Seventy-six years later, I have kept that dream. As a teacher and scientist I have tried to share it. The metaphor I offer for biological diversity is the magic well: The more you draw, the more there is to draw.

“But today the dream is at risk. Civilization is at last turning green, albeit only pale green. Our attention remains focused on the physical environment — on pollution, the shortage of fresh water, the shrinkage of arable land and, of course, the great, wrathful demon that threatens all our lives, human-forced climate change. But Earth’s living environment, including all its species and all the ecosystems they compose, has continued to receive relatively little attention. This is a huge strategic mistake. If we save the living environment of Earth, we will also save the physical, nonliving environment, because each depends on the other. But if we work to save only the physical environment, as we seem bent on doing, we will lose them both.

“So, what exactly is the current condition of the living environment, in particular its biological diversity and stability? How are we handling this critical element of Earth’s sustainability?

“With data on the best known vertebrate species, and a lot of additional information from fossil studies and genetics, we can put the fraction of species disappearing each year at upward of a 1,000 times the rate that existed before the coming of humans.

“Most of this loss is occurring in tropical countries, and especially tropical forests on islands. But to bring it home to the United States, consider that from 1895 to 2006, 57 species and distinct geographic races of freshwater fishes were driven to extinction, which is 10 percent of the total previously alive; hence the rate of extinction was just under 900 times that which existed before the coming of humans.” — E. O. Wilson, New York Times.


GR: Visit the Times article to see the chart showing the numerical relationship between land preserved and species saved.

7 thoughts on “The Global Solution to Extinction – The New York Times

  1. I have a TON of respect for Dr. E.O. Wilson. I have several of his DVD’s — my favorite is Of Ants and Men — and several of his books. When I saw Garry that you were mentioning him and his expertise, well… I was hooked! 😉

    The NY Times article is frighteningly poignant. His last paragraph troubled me:

    “The only way to save upward of 90 percent of the rest of life is to vastly increase the area of refuges, from their current 15 percent of the land and 3 percent of the sea to half of the land and half of the sea.”

    I find this extremely challenging for MANY humans and our nations collectively, collaboratively… UNLESS we humans find ways to mimick several species — like E.O. Wilson has studied and understands — who have been practicing remarkably well Eusociality and Superorganism behaviors for thousands and millions of years! Because of their highly evolved collaborative/collective organization, those handfuls of species have survived many extinction events! But with modern humans and our last 3-4 centuries of egocentric destructive, negligent, complacent habits upon Earth and her sustaining interconnected ecosystems, along with us even those resilient species may not make it! 😦

    I don’t see how we CANNOT do something and really start (like yesterday!) breaking very bad habits of more, more, MORE… I/we need more spacious homes, more food, more plastic products, more fuel for my MORE multiple vehicles, MORE jetliners and airports for MORE humans, and best of all… MORE EXCESSIVE WASTE and GARBAGE to pollute our land, rivers, seas, and oceans — all of which feed us humans. Isn’t that the definition of “Don’t shit where you eat“?

    Should we get REAL SERIOUS about birth-control????

    Thanks for sharing this Garry. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Serious reactions are not occurring. The Earth is failing all around us, but no one notices, believes, or cares. Some of our progressive leaders among our politicians recognize the crisis; the Pope does, the head of the UN does, but too many are stuck in their short-term focus on material gain. Prospects grim. I see a faint hope that electing new leaders will shift our attention. But it will be slow–possibly too slow.

    Thank you for your comment Professor.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When will pie-in-the-sky pieces start to lose their credibility? As a scientist, E.O. Wilson is first-rate on extinction. As a sociologist, he has nothing but wish and hope and dreams. What social or political forces can even be imagined, even at the most absurd levels of science fiction, that can posit a scenario of enforced habitat refuges across the globe?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Teachers must educate and optimists must ignore sad truths. Under the current U. S. government regime, our small area of protected land (which wasn’t very well protected) has declined. As severe weather disasters stemming from global warming accelerate, there will be a sift in mood toward self-preservation. Perhaps combined with more rational Progressive leadership, conservation efforts will increase. Let’s hope (keep filling the bird feeders while prudently ordering a gravity water filter and Rocket Stove).

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Pingback: Conservation Easement for Coldwater Farm | GarryRogers Nature Conservation


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