Shame on us humans, shame, shame, shame!
March 24, 2006
"OSLO, Norway (Reuters) — Humans are responsible for the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs and must make unprecedented extra efforts to reach a goal of slowing losses by 2010, a U.N. report said on Monday.
"In effect, we are currently responsible for the sixth major extinction event in the history of earth, and the greatest since the dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago," said the 92-page Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 report.
A rising human population of 6.5 billion was undermining the environment for animals and plants via pollution, expanding cities, deforestation, introduction of "alien species" and global warming, it said.
It estimated the current pace of extinctions was 1,000 times faster than historical rates, jeopardizing a global goal set at a 2002 U.N. summit in Johannesburg "to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss".
According to a "Red List" compiled by the World Conservation Union, 844 animals and plants are known to have gone extinct in the last 500 years, ranging from the dodo to the golden toad in Costa Rica. It says the figures are probably a big underestimate.
"The direct causes of biodiversity loss — habitat change, over-exploitation, the introduction of invasive alien species, nutrient loading and climate change — show no sign of abating," the report said.
Despite the threats, it said the 2010 goal was "by no means an impossible one".
It urged better efforts to safeguard habitats ranging from deserts to jungles and better management of resources from fresh water to timber. About 12 percent of the earth’s land surface is in protected areas, against just 0.6 percent of the oceans.
It also recommended more work to curb pollution and to rein in industrial emissions of gases released by burning fossil fuels and widely blamed for global warming.
The report said, for instance, that the annual net loss of forests was 7.3 million hectares (18 million acres) — an area the size of Panama or Ireland — from 2000-2005. Still, the figure was slightly less than 8.9 million hectares a year from 1990-2000."
The dinosaurs that we affectionately call "the baby boomer generation" are still the political majority of ignorance. How can they be so negligent to the clear knowledge of the mess that they are leaving for future generations. Perhaps their extinction will bring about change, maybe our generation will do a better job at facing these problems. Eventually we will understand that defending the status quo of our lifestyles is not the most important consideration.