Extinction Resources: Information, Opinion, Ideas, & Questions

Extinction Information Resources


Passenger Pigeon

Stopping human-caused extinction of Earth’s plant and animal species is the greatest challenge of our time. This post provides access to the latest articles on extinction. The first item (Ceballos et al. 2015) is the latest detailed report on what we know and how we acquired the information.

 Ceballos, Gerardo, Paul R. Ehrlich, Anthony D. Barnosky, Andrés García, Robert M. Pringle, and Todd M. Palmer. 19 June 2015. Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction. Science Advances Vol. 1, no. 5 (e1400253, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400253). Corresponding author. E-mail: gceballo@ecologia.unam.mx.

More than a thousand recent articles are linked to my blog (https://garryrogers.com/blog):

Causes of Extinction

My blog covers the things that people do to cause extinctions and reduce biodiversity. These deeds of ours are woven into individual and our collective habits and beliefs. Stopping them will alter our society and our culture. It will be difficult. Our population must be reduced, our food choices must change, and our resource harvest must decline. Nothing less will succeed. Search the blog using the following terms for recent reports:  Burning, Coal, Construction, Deforestation, Desertification, Energy, Farming, Fishing, Fracking, Grazing, Hunting, Invasive Species, Logging, Mining, Oil, Pesticides, Pet Trade, Pollution, Population, Roads, and Soil.

Climate change will become the major cause of extinction.  Here’s its search link on my blog:  Climate Change.

For more reading, my Internet newsletters include a wider variety of articles than my blog.

Fiction, Reality, & Responsibility: #EcoSciFi, #Climate-Change

#EcoSciFi and #Climate-Change)

The Tsaeb warriors appeared at a time when Earth’s intelligent creatures were endangering their own existence. War and environmental pollution were destroying the planet. These destructive forces were also sorting out Earth’s intelligent species by extinguishing those least able to compete. Evolutionary trial and error favored the swift and strong, and it favored species with a long-term view of their lives and instinctive acceptance of responsibility for their behavior. The rabbits were the first evolving species to understand and reject the destructive effects of industry and war; they formed the warrior guild and began helping evolution weed out irresponsible species.

Great Basin shrubland replaced by fire-prone invasive weeds.

Great Basin shrubland replaced by fire-prone invasive weeds.

In Corr Syl’s time and in ours, Humans are endangering their own existence. Unchecked, the Human population is spreading across the land plowing and bulldozing natural ecosystems. We are introducing invasive species, and harvesting plants and animals so fast that nature can’t recover. It is not surprising that wildlife biologists report that the numbers of many animal and plant species are sinking toward extinction.

1-SunThe lands that we do not destroy, we pollute with artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and a plethora of chemicals in municipal wastes. However, the most widespread and deadly pollutants of all are the big-molecule greenhouse gasses emitted by our industries, automobiles, and fires. CO2 is the principal culprit among these gasses. When we burn fuels such as wood, coal, or gasoline, oxygen from the air combines with the carbon in the fuel. A 6.3-pound gallon of gas produces about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned. Though the new big CO2 molecules float in the atmosphere, they weigh more than the original carbon atoms in the fuel. Here’s a clear explanation of what happens from the U. S. Department of Energy.

CO2 drifts up into the air where it admits light from the sun and blocks heat radiating back from Earth’s warmed surface. The oceans absorb some of the CO2 and this causes seawater to become more acidic.

The oceans also absorb some of the heat trapped in the atmosphere by CO2. Since the Industrial Revolution when our CO2 production shot up, the oceans have protected Earth’s climate by absorbing CO2 and heat.

The atmosphere and the oceans are warming. As they warm—and it takes only a few degrees—mountain glaciers and the great polar ice sheets begin to melt. This adds fresh water to the oceans, diluting their salinity and further increasing acidity. Rising ocean acidity is reaching the point where it is beginning to kill corals and shellfish. At the same time, our harvest of fish from the oceans has substantially reduced many species’ numbers. Since all sea creatures, like all land creatures, depend on one another, numbers of many species are falling.

Very hot temperature anomalies throughout the Eastern Pacific running from Equator to Northern Hemisphere Pole were a major contributor to record-breaking global heat during June. Still warming waters in the Equatorial zone are likely to pump still more heat into an atmosphere overburdened with human greenhouse gas emissions through at least early 2016. Image source: Earth Nullschool

“Very hot temperature anomalies throughout the Eastern Pacific running from Equator to Northern Hemisphere Pole were a major contributor to record-breaking global heat during June. Still warming waters in the Equatorial zone are likely to pump still more heat into an atmosphere overburdened with human greenhouse gas emissions through at least early 2016”–Robert Scribbler. Image source: Earth Nullschool

As the atmosphere and oceans warm, changes occur in the great atmospheric pressure systems that steer cyclones and hurricanes. The North Polar Region is becoming warmer even more rapidly than other latitudes. In the past, cold heavy air at the pole blocked warm moist air from the south. Now, that air flows farther north than it used to and the global pattern of atmospheric and oceanic circulation is changing.

We are entering a period when evaporation from the warmed oceans is increasing, and the oceans are returning stored heat to the atmosphere. Storms, floods, droughts, cold spells, and heat waves are growing stronger.

Evolution took millions of years to cull the Tsaeb for species capable of living as stable elements of Earth’s ecosystems. I wrote that the Tsaeb wars were terrible, but I let them run for millions of years without destroying the Earth. Had they been as destructive as the side effects of our current population growth and pollution, there wouldn’t have been time for evolution to select for wisdom. The challenge for Humans today is greater than it was for the Tsaeb. Our impact on the Earth is far more abrupt than the damage caused by Tsaeb wars. In hundreds, not millions, of years, our pollution and habitat destruction will transform Earth into a barren planet with few species, little soil, and horrible storms. We’ve known this for only a few decades. Now we have only decades to change our ways and save our forests, seas, and ourselves.

What’s Next for Earth?

Some believe that we already have the wisdom needed to take the long view of things and change our way of life. If you agree and you want to help, you may wish to begin by acquiring a general picture of what’s happening. Some of the best sources are those that fuel the Rebel Mouse newsletters on my website. Go to https://garryrogers.com/climate-news, and https://garryrogers.com/natcon-news. Many of the sources I use for the newsletters have excellent libraries of reviews and information. For more combined climate and nature-conservation news and information try http://www.scoop.it/t/ecoscifi. One of the sources is the blog by Robert Scribbler.

There are many good books on human impacts. Here are two on climate change that I like.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein
Storms Of My Grandchildren: Truth About The Climate Catastrophe And Our Last Chance To Save Humanity by James Hansen

Header Image

From near my home in central Arizona, left to right:  1) Long strands of algae in stream water polluted by fertilizer runoff from farms. 2) Total algae cover of pond polluted by fertilizer runoff from farms. 3) Land with its surface scraped in preparation for destruction by houses and streets. 4) Jet condensation trails. 5) Recreation destruction of a stream bank.

Camera Traps Reveal What’s Happening As Wildlife Reclaims Chernobyl

It was the world’s worst nuclear power plant accident, but despite more than 25 years of ongoing research into the radiological consequences for the environment, scientists have failed to come to a consensus on the effects of the Chernobyl disaster…Source: www.iflscience.com

GR:  The world without us would have more wildlife than it has with us.

Developers Attempt to Strip Tasmanian Forest Protection

GR:  Australian developers are interested in short-term profit, and they are willing to sacrifice ecosystems, wildlife, and their country’s future to get it.  Wait. . . did I say Australian?  How small of me–it’s developers everywhere. My neighbor Canada has caved in, let’s hope Australia can find the strength and pride to resist.

The following from the Guardian:

“Leading conservationist says Australia needs to understand the importance of leaving carbon-dense forests standing.

“The WWF analysis used 40 years of satellite imagery and land use mapping to find that nearly half of 5,815 Australian terrestrial ecosystems, covering an area of approximately 257m ha, would be listed as threatened under IUCN criteria because of land clearing and degradation.

“This vast number of threatened ecosystems, primarily due to the clearing of land for agriculture, dwarfs the 66 ecological communities officially listed as threatened by the Australian government.”  Source: www.theguardian.com

GR:  Thinking about the Tasmanian parrots endangered by deforestation, repeating this Guardian article seemed appropriate: “The WWF analysis used 40 years of satellite imagery and land use mapping to find that nearly half of 5,815 Australian terrestrial ecosystems, covering an area of approximately 257m ha, would be listed as threatened under IUCN criteria because of land clearing and degradation.”

The Effects of Noise Pollution on National Parks and Wildlife

Think your neighborhood in the city is too loud? Do you ever get woken up at night by the sounds of traffic or airplanes or trains?

Source: www.ecorazzi.com

GR:  Noise is one of the reasons we must keep recreation out of important habitats.

More International Pressure On Wildlife Crime

GR:  Does anyone else feel that the poaching problem is growing worse?

[IPS] Quito -A surge in wildlife crime is fueling criminal syndicates, perpetuating terrorism, and resulting in the loss of major revenues from tourism and industries dependent on iconic species while also endangering the livelihoods of the rural…

Source: allafrica.com


“Hey! Ho! Fossil Fuels Have Got to Go!” — World Sees Largest Climate March in History Amidst Mounting Dangers

According to the National Climate Data Center, the summer of 2014 was the hottest in the global record. It was a season of record wildfires, sea surface temperatures far above the 20th Century average, and of record droughts and rainfall events around the globe. And it was a year in which the ability of nations to provide food for the world’s seven billion and growing population amidst a mounting tally of extreme droughts and floods was called increasingly into question.

On Sunday September 24, 2014, the ever-more alarmed people of the world responded.  In New York City, an estimated 410,000 took …

Source: robertscribbler.wordpress.com

GR:  Human impacts are so massive that “reasonable” compromises have no effect.  This post is about greenhouse gasses and global warming.  Other stories about plastic in the oceans, pesticides on the land, and our bulging population’s growing need for building, burning, cutting, fishing, grazing, hunting, and plowing are also untouched by “reasonable” compromises.  We need to redefine our compromises as effective immediately (say 2 years) vs. long-term (10 years).  It is nonsense to let special interests such as the oil/coal industry have their congressmen suggest reasonable solutions.

Join the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos

If we can’t save these iconic creatures, imagine how likely we will fail to protect all the smaller species.

Save the Earth: Pray for a Pandemic

The extreme consequences of our disregard for other species will begin to generate more extreme responses.  Here’s an example:

Exposing the Big Game

I don’t mean to sound like some hateful misanthrope who wants to see humanity suffer for all its crimes against the environment. Rather, my misanthropy stems from a profound love of nature and a will to save non-humans from the cruelty and exploitation they’re routinely subjected to by the one species fully capable of causing a mass extinction. Indeed, the species Homo sapiens is currently in the process of putting an end to the most biologically diverse period the Earth has ever known—the Age of Mammals, a class which the human race must reluctantly finds itself included in.

Being nothing more than mere mammals themselves, humans are ultimately at the mercy of Mother Nature’s self-preserving tactics. And what better way to reign in an errant child than with a major global pandemic that takes down only humans? Let’s face it; humans are never going to reverse the ill-effects of climate change willingly…

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Fracking’s Impact on Wildlife Remains Unknown

“A decade into North America’s fracking boom, the impact on wildlife and the environment remains largely unknown, according to a new study.

“We’re conducting a giant experiment without even collecting the important data on the water, air, land or wildlife impacts,” said Sara Souther, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin, one of the co-authors of the peer-reviewed research examining the environmental impacts of shale gas development in the US and Canada.

“Although the technique of hydraulic fracturing shale has been used for at least 20 years, there is “surprisingly little research” on impacts, found the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.”

Source: www.theguardian.com


 GR: When the U. S. Bureau of Land Management, U. S. Forest Service, and most State land management agencies permit fracking, they are required to assess effects. However, these agencies tend to ignore or make only feeble attempts to monitor the consequences of their decisions. This is despite the fact that most agencies have adopted the principles of Adaptive Management that call for monitoring so that future actions can be improved. Adequate monitoring would often indicate the need for major changes that would not be approved by special interests outside the government. This is why the millions of acres of public land in the U. S. are in such poor condition.