Society and Culture

Earth Undergoing a Period of Mass Extinction?

Did you know our planet is undergoing one of the largest mass extinctions in the past 4 billion years? “So what,” you say. “It does not really affect me. Sure I feel sorry for the polar bears, elephants and tigers but their time is coming to a close. We all have to deal with our own and our own is humanity.”

This kind of human attitude suggests the question, “How many species can our planet afford to lose before we human are placed on the same extinction list?” Certainly at some point in this evolution of the species humanity will not be forgotten. The only questions are when and how our species will have to really struggle for survival?

The current extinction numbers are truly fantastic to consider-in fact the recent loss of species from just pollution and deforestation, within the past century, are enough to boggle your mind. Also our planet’s reefs are being devastated so fast the abundance of marine life, which uses coral reefs as a home, will not be alive for long.As a conservative estimate one half of all species alive today will be extinct within a century. This also includes millions of plant varieties which comprise the necessary biodiversity our planet needs to support a breathable atmosphere. These facts are supported by the United Nations report entitled, “The third Global Biodiversity Outlook”.

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Here is one short paragraph from that report…

“Vertebrate species fell by nearly one third between 1970 and 2006, natural habitats are in decline, genetic diversity of crops is falling and sixty breeds of livestock have become extinct since 2000.”

“Sixty breeds of live stock have become extinct since 2000.” How can that be? Species do not die at that rate yet this is what the UN report is claiming.

Here is another short paragraph which amplifies the paragraph above….

“Many economies remain blind to the huge value of the diversity of animals, plants and other life-forms and their role in healthy and functioning eco-systems.”

This last paragraph makes the point-of-points. We humans simply do not understand the relationships between animals, plants and our planet’s atmosphere-that is we cannot destroy entire ecological systems, such as our ocean’s reefs, and then not expect catastrophic change. Put another way, what we ask of our planet’s resources is way too much. Our planet simply cannot deal with the pollution we inflict upon her. She needs our help to provide a livable environment which can support animal and plant life.

Given the present rate of extinction for animal and plant life it is becoming obvious our planet cannot sustain the moderate climate and thus the environment necessary to support many life forms. With China and India now coming online, with much more industrial pollution, our planet is indeed at a critical cross-road. Somehow, someway we must find the intelligence and the will to reduce human population to a level which our planet can withstand. What that number is I am not sure but certainly the near 7 billion humans, who are now alive, are already too much and if world population continues to grow at historical rates then it will soon be impossible for our planet to support these large human populations without extreme conflict.

Here are some future population projections for our planet. Please note the large exponential rise in human population with each passing decade. For example the planet will gain nearly 5 billion in human population between 2090 and 2100 (1 decade) and the year 2090 is only 80 years away.

Year – Human Population in Billions

* 2011 – 7.000000000
* 2020 – 8.146791776
* 2030 – 9,642644274
* 2040 – 11.41315393
* 2050 – 13.50875123
* 2060 – 15.98912631
* 2070 – 18.92492916
* 2080 – 22.39978200
* 2090 – 26.51266113
* 2100 – 31.38071612

Concluding this brief and apocalyptic article I would have to say we all need to watch the numbers. That is, if our planet is already struggling to support 7 billion people, what is it going to be like when the population of our planet doubles and then quadruples? Can we really survive this population explosion? My answer is “no”. Not even technology can save us from ourselves. These kinds of population numbers will eventually become devastating but then who am I to suggest what humanity can or cannot do? Maybe somebody on this small planet of ours has a good answer. I truly hope so.

Jim Osborne is a retired programmer and Veteran living in New Mexico. Jim’s interest include writing, computers, investing, billiards and playing dominoes.

Jim’s favorite quote is by Jon Stewart…

Living in the limelight, the universal dream for those who wish to seem. Those who wish to be must put aside the alienation, get on with the fascination, the real relation, the underlying theme — RUSH, “Limelight; And now, here it is, your moment of Zen.

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