Mass Extinction: The next “man sucks” campaign?
For those of you that are feeling a bit glum at the idea of global warming going the way of the dodo bird (and the hole in the ozone layer, and the bird flu, etc.), fear not, because a new man-made environmental catastrophe has been called up from the bullpen. That’s right. Our evil human ways are causing all of the world’s animal species to go extinct. I’m anticipating a forced aviary in everyone’s home.
Disclaimer: I enjoy nature as much as the next guy. I have both a bird feeder and a bird bath in my backyard, I slow down for animals in the middle of the road, and I only eat animals that have been bred for the specific purpose of me eating them.
Now, with that out of the way, an article in the Guardian has revealed that the threat of global warming has been leap-frogged in importance by the threat of mass extinction. Granted, the article reflects a United Nations concern, which means nothing will ever be done about the impending catastrophe other than a stern letter being issued to somebody, but lets evaluate it anyway.
To mark the UN’s International Day for Biological Diversity tomorrow, hundreds of British companies, charities and other organisations have backed an open letter from the Natural History Museum’s director Michael Dixon warning that “the diversity of life, so crucial to our security, health, wealth and well being is being eroded”.
Simply playing devil’s advocate here, but how is biological diversity “crucial” to our security, health, and wealth (I’ll concede the well-being)? Is this diversity for diversity’s sake, or something else? See, this is the problem with many of the “save the earth” campaigns — they overreach. Almost everyone agrees that there is intrinsic value in preserving nature. So why jump the shark by arguing that biodiversity is crucial to national security?
Regardless of what the “greeners” think, we still have to live on this planet, and lest we forget, a cow caused the entire city of Chicago to burn to the ground. In other words, coal-powered electricity ain’t the worst thing in the world. There must be a common sense balance. For example, planting several trees for every one cut down is a good idea. Shutting the water off to the central valley in California, and causing farmers to go out of business, in order to save some smelt is a bad idea(but it happened).
The article concluded with the following assertions:
The TEEB report shows that on average one third of Earth’s habitats have been damaged by humans – but the problem ranges from zero percent of ice, rock and polar lands to 85% of seas and oceans and more than 70% of Mediterranean shrubland. It also warns that in spite of growing awareness of the dangers, destruction of nature will “still continue on a large scale”. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has previously estimated that species are becoming extinct at a rate 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than it would naturally be without humans.
Call me cynical, but I sat back and watched the global warming folk push their computer models of death, only to find that much of it has been either unproven, completely debunked or simply wrong due to faulty data. Thus, I immediately question statements like “one third of Earth’s habitats have been damaged by humans….” What is this based on? What does “damage” mean? What constitutes a “habitat?” Based upon past experience, these questions will be asked, and eventually answered, long after the “end of the world” meme has ended, and politicians have given millions in grants to scientists to perpetuate the meme. It would be nice if they’d actually answer them first.