AGW in general > Consequences

The Holocene Extinction

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There have been a number of topics and posts on this forum from all over the world regarding the current mass extinction event. Please read (at least) the summary of the following New Zealand Government Report published on 19.4.18.

Summary of the key findings from the report:

•Our soil is affected by erosion and intensive agriculture:

◦192 million tonnes of soil are lost every year from erosion – 44 percent of this is from pasture.

◦Soil quality testing shows 2 out of 7 indicators give reason for concern, with 48 percent of tested sites outside the target range for phosphorus content and macroporosity.

•Nearly 83 percent of our native birds, bats, reptiles, and frogs are classified as threatened or at risk of extinction (between 2010 and 2016).

•20 species of birds improved their conservation status (between 2012 and 2016).

•As well as loss of native vegetation across the country, coastal and lowland habitats continued to reduce.

•There have been significant shifts in land use in the last two decades:

◦10 percent increase in the total size of our towns and cities (between 1996 and 2012).

◦42 percent increase in the area of land used for dairy, and a 20 percent decrease in area used for sheep and beef (between 2002 and 2016).

◦shift in the past 15 years to higher numbers of animals farmed per hectare, especially in dairy.

◦net loss of 71,000 hectares of native land cover (between 1996 and 2012).

◦7 percent decrease in total area of land in agricultural production (between 2002 and 2012).

For the entire paper please follow the link below:

Please take 3 minutes to read the article at either of the links below. If this is happening in clean green New Zealand it's horrifying to think what is happening in the rest of the world.

This is the sort of thing that makes me want to start sticking extinction symbols up everywhere. Tragic, all around us and yet somehow invisible.

Humanity has lost touch with nature, and blindly steps on it without a thought. I'm hopeful that collectively this can be changed; but after how many more creatures are lost?

From the page:

--- Quote ---The symbol above represents extinction. The circle signifies the planet, while the hourglass inside serves as a warning that time is rapidly running out for many species. The world is currently undergoing a mass extinction event, and this symbol is intended to help raise awareness of the urgent need for change in order to address this crisis. Estimates are that somewhere between 30,000 and 140,000  species are becoming extinct every year in what scientists have named the Holocene, or Sixth Mass Extinction. This ongoing process of destruction is being caused by the impact of human activity. Within the next few decades approximately 50% of all species that now exist will have become extinct. Such a catastrophic loss of biodiversity is highly likely to cause widespread ecosystem collapse and consequently render the planet uninhabitable for humans.

In order to spread the message as widely as possible, please create this symbol in any location you feel able to. Thank you.

--- End quote ---

Forest Dweller:
Hmm...extinction symbol campaign huh?
Not hopeful that will change much but why not, the climate gets 100 times more attention...

As a wildlife researcher in Netherlands i can tell you things are bad, we mostly document loss and extinction.
Due to everything from poaching, farming, recreational pressure, urban sprawl and a few dozen other factors best summarized by saying this is a small and highly industrialized place.
43% of habitat loss of Europe happens here which is insane, and that is just in the nature reserves.

And then came the record 2018 make it much worse.
Some of my research areas were left more or less completely dead, vegetation and wildlife both.
Remaining wildlife turned to city areas were more trouble awaits.
Badgers appear to be hardest hit by the combination of industrial madness and climate mayhem.
Out of 20 dens i see only one at the moment showing some remaining activity while it is also being disturbed by heavy machinery at the moment.
Guess i'll have to share the extinction symbol....

Here is a link to the IUCN Red List page with some interesting data, although far from complete;

Radical solutions?
If homo sapiens are the source of the problem then maybe let's fix that first?

<begin mad scientist mode>
Lets genetically modify the human genome in three specific areas.
1) Raise the intelligence or cognition of the human brain. The better the species is able to understand it's effect on the environment the more effective proactive solutions will be. Generally higher IQs will likely accelerate technological solutions.
2) Delay fertility till the late 20s or early 40s (male and female). Consider longer gestation periods to limit maximum births during fertility periods, maybe 2-3 years between births. Alternatively, we could shorten fertility to the early twenties. Limit the number of years the species is fertile to a max of 5-7 years.
3) Turn humans from carnivores into herbivores. Just like lactose intolerance make some humans allergic to milk. There are proteins in meat that could be targeted to produce similar results in humans.

This is all feasible with genetic engineering using technologies like CRISPR and Gene Drive. Option #1 is potentially the most dangerous since there is a chance it could lead to a split in the genome resulting in multiple homo-sapiens derivatives and greater inequality.
Before you pass judgment on these ideas take note that we are already doing this to other species.
Is this solution ethical, humane and moral? More importantly, would it help solve the problem of over population and the resulting strain on the environment?


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