Шестото измиране eBook å


10 thoughts on “Шестото измиране

  1. Amanda Amanda says:

    Seemed a good time to float this bad mama jama spoiler alert we re screwed Looking for a good horror novel that will keep you up late at night One that features the most remorseless, inventive, and successful serial killer to ever stumble into the written word One whose body count grows exponentially as his appetite becomesravenous, never sated One who is so adept at killing that he does so without even seeming to try Well, I have just the ticket The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth K Seemed a good time to float this bad mama jama spoiler alert we re screwed Looking for a good horror novel that will keep you up late at night One that features the most remorseless, inventive, and successful serial killer to ever stumble into the written word One whose body count grows exponentially as his appetite becomesravenous, never sated One who is so adept at killing that he does so without even seeming to try Well, I have just the ticket The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert This is as frightening as it gets, people, and the villain here is us me, you, and everyone else inhabiting this little blue marble called Earth Throughout history, there have been five mass extinction events the Cretaceous Paleogene, the Triassic Jurassic, the Permian Triassic, the Late Devonian, and the Ordovician Silurian All of these involve a cataclysmic shift in environmental conditions, some the result of an external impact And now Kolbert reports that there may be a sixth extinction the Anthropocene, caused by the impact of humanity on the environment Many may believe that this is a byproduct of the Industrial Age, but Kolbert shows us how humans have always had a knack for wreaking wide scale environmental havoc Always needing and wantingfrom our natural resources, we, like kudzu, multiply rapidly, take over every inch of land available to us, and choke out the life that surrounds us.Kolbert makes the case for recognizing the Anthropocene as a mass extinction event by exploring its casualties and its future victims As she relates the extinction of the American mastodon, the great auk, and the Neanderthal, as well as the near extinction of the Panamanian golden frog, Hawaiian crow, Sumatran rhino, and several types of bats, one truth becomes increasingly clear most of these extinctions began to take place when humans entered the environment Despite the disheartening nature of the topic, Kolbert writes with dry wit and gallows humor which for me always made an appearance at just the right time before things became too depressing While there is a lot of science here, Kolbert keeps it accessible for those of us who don t while away our days reading scientific journals you know, while our basic needs and consumer choices destroy everything around us , and her first person narrative keeps it from veering into textbook territory.There s a lot here that I enjoyed, but three highlights stand out 1 Kolbert s early chapters about men like Cuvier, Lyell, and Darwin, who were among the first to speculate on extinction and evolution From our modern perspective, it s easy to forget that extinction, in particular, is a relatively new idea There was a time when many scientists believed that nothing could become extinct over the natural progression of time the discovery of fossils began to shift human understanding of the world and of creation Reading as these men stumble in their understanding of the world, shifting and revising hypotheses, and ultimately discovering that there was a world that existed before mankind is fascinating.2 The chapters on the sea and corals which may eventually become extinct, taking with them several organisms that live symbiotically with corals is particularly interesting for someone like myself who is happily landlocked For those who don t live near or have a relationship with our seas and oceans, it s easy to see it as a vast nothingness and forget about the world teeming below our waters The rate of ocean acidification is frightening.3 The concept of a new Pangaea is an intriguing one The ease with which we travel to other states, countries, and continents has, in a sense, reconstituted Pangaea in that we knowingly and unknowingly introduce new and often invasive plant and animal species into new environments In doing so, these new host environments haven t developed nature s evolutionary safeguards to keep the balance between predator and prey, often with disastrous results.While Kolbert makes all of this lucid and entertaining, as well as terrifying, I must admit to some fatigue when I got to the final chapters Reading about mass extinction can really take a toll on someone whose worldview can basically be summed up as people suck Reading such incontrovertible evidence, and knowing that I myself cannot escape the guilt of this accusation, is, in the words of Kolbert on The Daily Show, kind of a downer However, we needdowners We need to beeducated about what we re doing to our environment Early man deserves a pass you come into a place and think, Damn Look at all these mastodons We can feast like kings So you settle in, live a life filled with mastodon hunts and mastodon meat, have several children, dress them in mastodon onesies, killmastodons, always assuming there will beAfter all, you ve found the great all you can eat mastodon buffet You have no concept of the impact your consumption is having on the environment You haven t seen Disney s The Lion King and therefore don t know of the majestic power of the circle of life nor of the comedic gold of pairing a warthog with a meerkat Such days of ignorance should be behind us We know better, so we should do better.Although, many of us are 4% Neanderthal because apparently early homo sapiens just couldn t resist the seductive power of a ridged brow So maybe we re not so smart after all Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder


  2. Mario the lone bookwolf Mario the lone bookwolf says:

    Ecocides could only be justified with the primate madness gene in Prehistoric times, but nowadays it s inexcusable Archaeologists of the future in millions of years would wonder what has happened, how such devastation could be done in such a short time They compare volcanic eruptions, climate change, meteorites, changes in the earth s magnetic field, solar storms, gamma ray bursts, etc with the unique event or people find the ruins of a vanished high culture in the course of the colonization Ecocides could only be justified with the primate madness gene in Prehistoric times, but nowadays it s inexcusable Archaeologists of the future in millions of years would wonder what has happened, how such devastation could be done in such a short time They compare volcanic eruptions, climate change, meteorites, changes in the earth s magnetic field, solar storms, gamma ray bursts, etc with the unique event or people find the ruins of a vanished high culture in the course of the colonization of space And wonder what might have led to their downfall.In the retrospective, they are most astounded by how they could notice and know everything about such fatal developments and continue whistling cheerfully, saw on the branch they are sitting, poison themselves comprehensively by contaminating the environment, bite the hand that feeds them, and play Russian Roulette with an automatic weapon To murder the mother, who has lovingly raised them, secretly and viciously for profit or neglect and let her languish in front of them until she dies as a result of negligence.The extrapolated development illustrates the explosiveness In 100 or 250 years, humanity will have eradicated almost all species and only a few adaptable wild species and parasites will represent the remaining fauna and flora.Everyone else will vegetate in zoos if they are lucky or be stuffed out to be gazed at in extensive areas of natural history museums for extinct species Since the addition out of the education and culture budget for millions of extinct species will be too expensive, one will probably give away the excess exhibits or throw the stuffed last specimens of the species in the trash, burn them, or give them to the stores of the companies who helped to exterminate for decoration purposes in shop windows or for kids to play with while the parents are shopping It would be a consistent continuation of the treatment of nature by humans to spit on the grave too after the total annihilation.The homogenization and massive reduction of biodiversity is in two wayssubtle than direct extinction through habitat destruction By breeding fewer,productive species, non lucrative farm animals and the economical completely worthless wild species are driven to the brink of extinction The spread of invasive species destroys helpless, natural ecosystems and few very aggressive expanding species and the spread breed, genetically enhanced varieties remain Globally, habitats are becomingandsimilar, the physical equivalent of the, in the cultural and sociological area, much criticized Americanization.The lack of empathy is limited to animals and plants Genocide is, for just about a century, the most outrageous and disturbing thing that people can be confronted with Before that, humankind was acting consistently, and with equal rights for every group of victims, so far as that he she eradicated her his equals too Now destruction in unprecedented dimensions is accepted as the inevitable collateral damage of human development and the stupid, endless, exponential economic growth of a self destructive system of madness It s just ecocide, that s not so bad They have no soul or something like that, so calm down, tree hugging hippie leftist The conviction that everything can be restored with technology is naive and shortsighted Human made machines and infrastructures can be built, maintained and modified, removing a mountain is already acomplicated task, but to bring back to life a sea that only consists of death zones or a desert that once was a forest, borders to an impossibility on the momentary state of the art.In the very long term, the damage to the natural infrastructure needed for biodiversity can be compensated with the corresponding financial, technological, and material resources using robots, gene and nanotechnology to remove toxicity and build new habitats, etc But this is like making a lovely house for a dead person with extreme expenses and an interior decorator in the morbid hope that would bring the person back to life And extinct is evendefinitive than dead, it s not as if there was indirect immortality with grandkids or something, we are talking about truly forever gone Further, ecosystems have evolved over millions of years in circumstances that we do not understand and aren t interested in investing money to learnabout Even now there areopen than answered questions and factors and often an element was changed with good intention and had fatal effects instead At the moment it s impossible to rebuild a complex ecosystem from an empty, human made pseudo natural space, just the microbiological part with the right soil conditions is far too tricky A habitat is needed that not only preserves itself but also stands in a complex and balanced interplay with climate, weather, landforms, and adjacent, other ecosystems, and adapts to evolutionary and climate changes.Fresh, by humans, decontaminated and reforested habitats will be empty because one will not have genetic samples like the ones from mammoths and dinosaurs because nobody takes them, because the animals die out without it even being noticed and because it s seen as too expensive to freeze probes from the last survivors in zoos before they die in many places, especially if it s no cuddly panda, but a nasty snake, critter, or ugly fish, yuk Surely one will be able to create chimeras, cheap wannabe replicas or classic fantasy creatures Just the biodiversity, the breadth of variation, and the ingenuity of nature in millions of expressions, which has developed in billions of years, will be lost forever.Homo Sapiens will not be severely affected or interested in the results anyway People will not die out, no matter how poisoned and hostile the planet will become because the same technology that allows the destruction of nature will save the destroyers and bring them longer and healthier lives It will merely makeeconomic sense to turn the planet back into a habitable and not immediately deadly state when leaving the secure zones or underground bunkers.It will be a pretty empty planet The limited creative power of humankind will conjure bad copies of the former biodiversity, but nothing will come close to the original range of variation and diversity of natural evolution some of us are still privileged to see when going outside.A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real life outside books


  3. Emily (Books with Emily Fox) Emily (Books with Emily Fox) says:

    This is officially the most boring book I ve read this year.There were some interesting moments but they were too few to compensate You ll learnabout random rainforest frogs than you ever wantedAlso I find that while reading some non fiction you have to like the author to a certain extent and I just couldn t here One moment during the book she writes about how she tried to visit a certain location and asked the lady working at the gift shop to give her a tour The employee obviously t This is officially the most boring book I ve read this year.There were some interesting moments but they were too few to compensate You ll learnabout random rainforest frogs than you ever wantedAlso I find that while reading some non fiction you have to like the author to a certain extent and I just couldn t here One moment during the book she writes about how she tried to visit a certain location and asked the lady working at the gift shop to give her a tour The employee obviously told her she was busy and I couldn t help but resent the author for being salty about it as she wrote that as far as she could tell they were the only ones there Like come on.Don t recommend


  4. BlackOxford BlackOxford says:

    Better Dead Than Read In the Book of Genesis, God creates mankind last, as if anticipating the theory of Darwinian evolution But the text is somewhat ambivalent about his accomplishment Whereas all his other creations time, space, light, plants, sentient creatures are explicitly deemed good, human beings are merely lumped in with everything else as God surveys the world The biblical author seems to be hedging the blessing mitzvah both a command and a favour of human rule over ever Better Dead Than Read In the Book of Genesis, God creates mankind last, as if anticipating the theory of Darwinian evolution But the text is somewhat ambivalent about his accomplishment Whereas all his other creations time, space, light, plants, sentient creatures are explicitly deemed good, human beings are merely lumped in with everything else as God surveys the world The biblical author seems to be hedging the blessing mitzvah both a command and a favour of human rule over everything If so, his caution has turned out to be justified Putting the inmates in charge of the asylum has turned out to be a profound design flaw.But perhaps not for much longer The species Homo sapiens seems to have run its course It has overwhelmed the creative matrix which produced it And it has done so in an evolutionary blink of an eye Its facility for communication through complex language, as Emil Cioran has said, has filled creation with a glut of consciousness, an intellectual burden which it cannot sustain The threat is not mankind s greed, or hostility, or sexual urges but thought itself Thought, which is language in action, produces cooperative effort, which produces technology, which removes all impediments to the spread of the species.Except, of course, one impediment the success of the species itself It is a species which consumes everything it encounters This it calls finding a use for, or sometimes making life better This is an expected consequence of language use As Yuval Harari observes, it is gossip which propelled the species into poll position in the evolutionary race Members of the species gin each other up to wantof everythingchildren,food,air, water, minerals well justof everything Isn t this what ruling is all about Making things better Enhancing existence Realising one s full potential, as well as that of the species Isn t that the practical definition of salvation Striving for perfection One of Stanislaw Lem s stories turns the tables on the evolutionary story we tell ourselves about being the most developed species, the top of the food chain, the acme of known existence For Lem all this striving, this wanting to be better, bigger, stronger,secure, to be something other than what we already are, is an obvious evolutionary defect, a dead end genetic branch that will wither as creation moves on And what it will move on to is the inertia of what the species now sees dismissively as dead matter This is, of course, obviously the case Look in any grave yard for confirmation or in the fossil record or for that matter into the maw of the nearest astronomical black hole Entropy, that is to say, that silent, peaceful equality is the heaven that awaits us, the omega point of Teilhard de Chardin.Meanwhile we are effectively trapped in this bubble of language We can t resist it, or dispose of it, or in any way mitigate its profoundly destructive consequences for us as well as for the other species with which we live We are doomed to destroy them, as in a Ted Chiang story, simply by perceiving them Even by naming them, we endanger their existence because it means we have become aware of them as a potential resource We are prisoners of ourselves Stories about future threats to human existence through developments in Artificial Intelligence are actually distractions from current reality Language already controls us.In this light, it helps to look at the record The Ordovician extinction occurred over a period of a million years as global temperatures dropped, and was caused by silicate rocks sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere 86% of all species perished The Devonian extinction, triggered by the development of plant life on land releasing nutrients into the oceans, thus wiping out 75% of marine animals The Permian extinction was the big one, the proximate cause being methane producing bacteria 96% of life on each disappeared The Triassic extinction has no agreed upon cause but it wiped out 80% of contemporary species The Cretaceous extinction, the one with the asteroid impact in the Gulf of Mexico as its final coup, was relatively mild only three quarters of known species were eliminated It too seems like the revenge of dead matter.Isn t it interesting that each of these events was precipitated by material, both living and dead, rather far down the purported evolutionary ladder than the most advanced organisms then in existence Evolutionary development carries with it inherent vulnerability to changes in the environment The less developed, that is the closer to dead matter, thelikely the chances of survival And dead matter probably only goes extinct in some sort of cosmic singularity like a black hole Language simultaneously makes us aware and insulates us from this reality Inside the bubble of language we can rationalise our inevitable fate science will save us God has another world waiting for us the mathematical probabilities for another similar event is low, etc We know deep down that language is deceiving us but we act like it s just part of reality.The implications are obvious Neither God nor human beings created language, thus contradicting our fundamental language based conceit Language evolved from us but is independent of us And we are addicted to it We resent the power of language, even as we pretend to use it to further our own We are at its mercy and we intend, unconsciously but deliberately, to stop its hegemony Like every other extinction event, this one too is being executed by an inferior species upon one which has emanated from it We are determined to wipe out language, or at least to scramble it so profoundly that its meanings are irrecoverable The elimination of so many other species along the way is merely collateral damage, unfortunate but necessary This perhaps is the true significance of the story in Genesis chapter 11 of the Tower of Babel And it certainly explains Donald Trump s appeal to the mass of Deplorables.Kolbert has the trajectory correct but the mechanism wrong Nothing about the Sixth Extinction is accidental or unwanted It was inevitable from the moment an idea and a sound or gesture popped into some primitive head and were linked That was the start of the rot And there are plenty of folk out there who are willing to go to the wall in order to stop it Better Dead Than Read is their motto Heed them they are serious and dedicated And they are winning


  5. Riku Sayuj Riku Sayuj says:

    Dial M for Murder This is a dark and deeply depressing book, trying hard to be hopeful on the lines of Douglas Adams Last Chance to See.Kolbert s book reminds us that we could be the last couple of generations to witness true diversity, maybe the last to see such magnificent and delicate creatures as the amphibians.The story of the Sixth Extinction, at least as Kolbert has chosen to tell it, comes in thirteen chapters Each tracks a species that s in some way emblematic the American mast Dial M for Murder This is a dark and deeply depressing book, trying hard to be hopeful on the lines of Douglas Adams Last Chance to See.Kolbert s book reminds us that we could be the last couple of generations to witness true diversity, maybe the last to see such magnificent and delicate creatures as the amphibians.The story of the Sixth Extinction, at least as Kolbert has chosen to tell it, comes in thirteen chapters Each tracks a species that s in some way emblematic the American mastodon, the great auk, an ammonite that disappeared at the end of the Cretaceous alongside the dinosaurs.The creatures in the early chapters are already gone, and this part of the book is mostly concerned with the great extinctions of the past and the twisting history of their discovery, starting with the work of the French naturalist Georges Cuvier.The second part of the book takes place very much in the present in the increasingly fragmentedrainforest, on a fast warming slope in the Andes, on the outer reaches of the Great Barrier Reef.Martyrs to Awareness Kolbert s book also spends much ink tracking the history of humanity s well, western at least awareness of extinction and then the science of studying it It starts from the biblical conception of all creatures as eternal and changeless to the gradual awareness that some animals might be rare or extinct and eventually to the awareness of Natural selection and the importance of change for life on Earth.Thomas Kuhn, the twentieth century s most influential historian of science, has much to say about such paradigmatic revelations about how people process disruptive information Their first impulse is to force it into a familiar framework hearts, spades, clubs Signs of mismatch are disregarded for as long as possible the red spade looks brown or rusty At the point the anomaly becomes simply too glaring, a crisis ensues what the psychologists dubbed the My God reaction This pattern was, Kuhn argued in his seminal work,The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , so basic that it shaped not only individual perceptions but entire fields of inquiry Data that did not fit the commonly accepted assumptions of a discipline would either be discounted or explained away for as long as possible Thecontradictions accumulated, theconvoluted the rationalizations became In science, as in the playing card experiment, novelty emerges only with difficulty, Kuhn wrote.But then, finally, someone came along who was willing to call a red spade a red spade Crisis led to insight, and the old framework gave way to a new one This is how great scientific discoveries or, to use the term Kuhn made so popular, paradigm shifts took place The history of the science of extinction can be told as a series of paradigm shifts Until the end of the eighteenth century, the very category of extinction didn t exist Thestrange bones were unearthed mammoths, Megatherium, mosasaurs the harder naturalists had to squint to fit them into a familiar framework And squint they did The giant bones belonged to elephants that had been washed north, or hippos that had wandered west, or whales with malevolent grins When Cuvier arrived in Paris, he saw that the mastodon s molars could not be fit into the established framework, a My God moment that led to him to propose a whole new way of seeing them Life, Cuvier recognized, had a history This history was marked by loss and punctuated by events too terrible for human imagining Though the world does not change with a change of paradigm, the scientist afterward works in a different world is how Kuhn put it.Are the early participants of Humanity s Mega Kill , the Sixth Extinction , if you will, martyrs to humanity s self awareness as immoral killers required to make us finally think through to the consequences of our actions Anthropocene MoralityHumanity might finally be capable of perceiving the change that has been wrought, and moving into the most crucial understanding of all that our survival depends on preserving Earth as close to how we inherited it as possible The emblematic extinctions are valuable because they serve as blazing sign posts The eco system might be too slow in its actions to warn us in time, but our aesthetic sensibility might be capable of warning us in advance when we are too far off the tracks That might in turn finally engage our moral responsibility for creating an Anthropocene in which most of our co inheritors of the planet cannot survive Love thy neighbor Can we Or will we continue to shy away from any moral colorings to the argument Even as we commit to and associate ourselves with blatant Ecocide Our biggest threat is ecological, human induced change and, to bespecific, rate of change When the world changes faster than species can adapt, many fall out This is the case whether the agent drops from the sky in a fiery streak or drives to work in a Honda


  6. David David says:

    This book is a very engaging examination of extinctions of animal species through the ages Elizabeth Kolbert adds a wonderfully personal touch to many of the chapters, as she describes her visits to the habitats where various species are dying out She accompanies scientists and ecologists as they delve into extinctions, past and present Some biologists are gathering up endangered species, putting them into special reserves and zoo like habitats where they might be able to survive.There is no This book is a very engaging examination of extinctions of animal species through the ages Elizabeth Kolbert adds a wonderfully personal touch to many of the chapters, as she describes her visits to the habitats where various species are dying out She accompanies scientists and ecologists as they delve into extinctions, past and present Some biologists are gathering up endangered species, putting them into special reserves and zoo like habitats where they might be able to survive.There is no single cause for the various massive extinctions Some were due to sudden changes in climate, some due to catastrophes like meteors, some due to disease, and some are due to humans For example, the mastodon s extinction coincides with the spread of humans The original penguin the auk became extinct due to a combination of factors, including volcanoes and human hunters in the nineteenth century Coral reefs are dying off because of increasing acidification much of the excessive carbon dioxide produced by humans is absorbed by the ocean, where the ph level is become less base.Homo sapiens lived at the same time as other hominid species, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans Visually, Neanderthals were not so different from us If you gave one a shave and a suit, a Neanderthal might look like this So, the question comes up why did these other nearly human species go extinct, while humans survived The question is especially appropriate, as there is DNA evidence that humans interbred with some of these other species The answer is very possibly that humans killed them off.What makes this book so special, is Kolbert s writing style She makes me feel like I m right there with the biologists and ecologists She personally visits the habitats, and goes into some depth talking with the specialists Each chapter becomes an adventure Sometimes the subject matter becomes depressing, as it is about the dying or killing off of species But the writing is so engaging, that I highly recommend this book


  7. Helen 2.0 Helen 2.0 says:

    hides in apocalypse safe bunker and cries A goosebump inducing nonfiction read The Sixth Extinction is told in a part textbook, part narrative style the author gives readers hard facts mixed into detailed personal accounts of her research trips In 13 chapters, she tells the stories of several species, some long extinct, some still teetering on the brink of extinction, all with one common enemy us The best part of the book is that Kolbert isn t trying to blame the human race or make her re hides in apocalypse safe bunker and cries A goosebump inducing nonfiction read The Sixth Extinction is told in a part textbook, part narrative style the author gives readers hard facts mixed into detailed personal accounts of her research trips In 13 chapters, she tells the stories of several species, some long extinct, some still teetering on the brink of extinction, all with one common enemy us The best part of the book is that Kolbert isn t trying to blame the human race or make her readers feel guilty She only explains the effect we have on our earth and where this could lead possibly to world domination by giant tool making rats The message is simply, Here is the information you decide what to do with it Would recommend highly


  8. Melki Melki says:

    When I hear of the destruction of a species I feel just as if all the works of some great writer had perished Theodore RooseveltI don t recall ever reading a book that SO made me want to curl up in a ball on the floor and just SOB.The book ends with a chapter entitled The Thing With Feathers, which is hope, according to Emily Dickinson Or Woody Allen s nephew, if you know that joke Yet this chapter contains some of thedire information, not to mention the most tear inducing quotes When I hear of the destruction of a species I feel just as if all the works of some great writer had perished Theodore RooseveltI don t recall ever reading a book that SO made me want to curl up in a ball on the floor and just SOB.The book ends with a chapter entitled The Thing With Feathers, which is hope, according to Emily Dickinson Or Woody Allen s nephew, if you know that joke Yet this chapter contains some of thedire information, not to mention the most tear inducing quotes We re seeing right now that a mass extinction can be caused by human beings Walter Alvarez Right now we are in the midst of the Sixth Extinction, this time caused solely by humanity s transformation of the ecological landscape plaque displayed at the American Museum of History s Hall of Biodiversity___________________Throughout history, there have been five other mass extinctions that led to a profound loss of biodiversity But the cause for this one lies squarely on our shoulders It is estimated that one third of all reef building corals, a third of all fresh water mollusks, a third of sharks and rays, a quarter of all mammals, a fifth of all reptiles, and a sixth of all birds are headed toward oblivion.Let s take a look at some of the things we stand to lose.The Panamanian Golden Frog I sought a career in herpetology because I enjoy working with animals I did not anticipate that it would come to resemble paleontology Joseph Mendelson, a herpetologist at Zoo AtlantaThe Asian ElephantCoral Reefs if current emissions trends continue, within the next fifty years or so all coral reefs will cease to grow and start to dissolve The Sumatran RhinoThe Marianas Flying Fox This bat has become a victim of the accidental introduction of the brown tree snake.Disastrously introduced species are discussed in a chapter entitled The New Pangaea.Though Kolbert is no Mary Roach, she does try to inject some humor whenever possible I got a laugh out of her account of Australia s problem with the cane toad, a critter purposely introduced to control sugarcane beetles Preschoolers are enlisted to help in reducing the toad s numbers To dispose of the toads humanely, the council instructs children to cool them in a fridge for 12 hours and then place them in a freezer for another 12 hours Be careful when you reach for a popsicle in that house So, besides losing lots of wonderful wildlife, why should we care In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it perches Stanford ecologist Paul EhrlichYep, we could be next Rudy Park by Darrin Bell and Theron Heir, July 6, 2015There are things we can do, but you know how we are when it comes to cutting back and making sacrifices.Are we willing to do them If you want me, I ll be on the floor sobbing


  9. Barbara Barbara says:

    In this well researched book, science writer Elizabeth Kolbert casts a strong light on the damage humans are doing to planet Earth In one example Kolbert describes declining populations of the golden frog, which is rapidly disappearing from all its native habitats Turns out humans have inadvertently spread a type of fungus that infects the skin of amphibians and kills them.Golden FrogIn another example, almost six million North American bats have so far died from a skin infection caused by a In this well researched book, science writer Elizabeth Kolbert casts a strong light on the damage humans are doing to planet Earth In one example Kolbert describes declining populations of the golden frog, which is rapidly disappearing from all its native habitats Turns out humans have inadvertently spread a type of fungus that infects the skin of amphibians and kills them.Golden FrogIn another example, almost six million North American bats have so far died from a skin infection caused by a different fungus, also accidentally spread by people.North American BatsPerhaps less ecologically minded people might think who cares about frogs and bats But all species on Earth are part of an interactive ecosystem, and the disappearance of any one organism might set off a domino effect that has unseen consequences down the line.EcosystemMoreover, these sad occurrences are just the teeny tip of a humongous iceberg when it comes to changes wrought by human activity.Species extinction is not a recent phenomenon on Earth In fact there have been five documented instances of mass extinctions the disappearance of a large number of species in a short time in the course of the planet s history These are The Ordovician Silurian extinction, about 440 million years ago, thought to be caused by cycles of glaciation and melting.Life at the Ordovician Silurian Extinction The Late Devonian extinction, about 360 375 million years ago The cause is unknown but some experts suggest periods of global cooling and glaciation.Life at the Late Devonian Extinction The Permian Triassic extinction, about 250 million years ago, which may have resulted from an asteroid impact or massive volcanic eruptions or both This was the largest extinction event in Earth s history, wiping out 95 percent of species living at the time.Life at the Permian Triassic Extinction The Triassic Jurassic extinction, about 200 215 million years ago, apparently caused by colossal lava floods and perhaps global warming related to the breakup of Pangaea a supercontinent made of all Earth s landmasses.Life at the Triassic Jurassic Extinction The Cretaceous Paleogene extinction, about 66 million years ago, thought to be due to an asteroid impact Evidence for this is the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico This extinction is well known in popular culture because it wiped out the dinosaurs.Life at the Cretaceous Paleogene ExtinctionEach extinction event left vacant ecological niches and over time these were filled by the expansion of remaining species and the evolution of new organisms Taking into account all the cycles of extinction and speciation in the planet s history, scientists speculate that 99.9 percent of species that lived on Earth are gone Unfortunately, humans by causing profound changes in Earth s ecosystems may now be causing the sixth mass extinction Examples of what humans are doing to Earth include Burning fossil fuels, which adds CO2 to the atmosphere This has a dual effect It causes global warming, which affects the distribution and survival of plants and animals and it acidifies the oceans, causing calcite to dissolve Thus, coral reefs are being destroyed and molluscs are getting holes in their shells Destroying habitats to accommodate expanding human populations This includes cutting down forests, constructing roads and buildings, and cultivating monoculture farms all of which demolishes the homes of native organisms Transferring organisms to new habitats When people started moving from place to place they purposely or not took other organisms with them For instance, brown rats which seem to be indestructible rode ships to almost every corner of the world, ravaging native species rabbits brought to Australia as food animals became one of the biggest pests on the continent brown snakes, introduced to Guam, wiped out nearly all the native birds and kudzu vines introduced to the U.S from Asia cover and smother all vegetation in their path.Kudzu smothers native vegetationIt s estimated that people are moving 10,000 species around the world every day, mostly in supertanker ship ballast The consequences of this are potentially disastrous for indigenous plants and animals everywhere Overharvesting and hunting animals to extinction In the North Sea, Grand Banks of Newfoundland, and East China Sea, overfishing has severely depleted fish stocks.In addition, many animals have been completely wiped out by humans, including the dodo, Tasmanian tiger, passenger pigeon, Steller s sea cow, and great auk a flightless bird In a sad anecdote Kolbert describes how on July 3, 1844 a hunter named Sigur ur sleifsson strangled the world s last two great auks on Eldey Island, near Iceland Great AuksIn The Sixth Extinction Kolbert sounds the alarm about humans wreaking changes on Earth in the current era dubbed the Anthropocene With luck, Kolbert s book might help persuade concerned people to stop damaging the environment, curtail global warming, and save threatened species Some measures are already in place the U.S has an Endangered Species Act designed to protect imperiled organisms international agreements have been made to alleviate global warming and frozen zoos store DNA from thousands of plants and animals, in hopes of resurrecting them if they disappear Still, it may be too little too late.As far as the Earth is concerned, a sixth extinction could be just another cataclysmic event from which the planet will gradually recover For humans thoughwellwe might just wipe ourselves out in such a catastrophe If so, something will inevitably take our place Elizabeth Kolbert half jokingly suggests it might be giant intelligent rats ha ha ha Some people think humans can counteract the harm we ve done to the Earth One solution for global warming, for example, involves spraying salt water into low lying clouds, to enhance their ability to reflect sunlight Even if this worked, though, it would solve only one problem of many In the extreme case of irreparable harm to Earth, some optimists believe the human race will survive by colonizing other planets Only time will tell Kolbert s book is well written, engaging, and personal with anecdotes based on her own observations as well as interviews with scientists she accompanied on their research trips I d recommend this enlightening and interesting book to everyone interested in the Earth s future.FYI If you like the move to other planets scenario you might enjoy the novel Seveneves by Neal Stephensonwhich has a related theme.You can read my book reviews at


  10. Jessaka Jessaka says:

    no snow, now ice by photographer Patty Waymire, National GeographicEvery part of the earth is sacred to my people Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect All are holy in the memory and experience of my people Chief SeattleWhen I was a child my favorite books were the Golden Nature Guides about insects, birds, sea shells, and so on I learned many insect names, as well as those of the butterflies and other animals I al no snow, now ice by photographer Patty Waymire, National GeographicEvery part of the earth is sacred to my people Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect All are holy in the memory and experience of my people Chief SeattleWhen I was a child my favorite books were the Golden Nature Guides about insects, birds, sea shells, and so on I learned many insect names, as well as those of the butterflies and other animals I also remember seeing so many different varieties of wildlife back then Little did I know then that in later years I would look for the birds, butterflies and insects of my youth and not see many of them I jump for joy when I see a praying mantis, an inch worm, or a walking stick We are losing our bees, and I seldom see those either If we lose them all we lose our fruits and other plants that need pollinated China has to hand pollinate now The only butterfly I see here are black swallowtails What happened to the buckeye, the yellow swallowtail, and all the others This year I learned that black swallowtails love fennel, so I was given some fennel to plant in hope that it would drawof them to my garden One day I saw two caterpillars on it, and they had eaten all the fennel, As I was watching them, they crawled off to look forfood Not finding any, they crawled back onto the fennel I called a friend who asked me to bring the caterpillars over to her house She put them in a jar with fennel where she could keep them safe from the birds They made cocoons, hatched and flew off Why do we even have to do this What happened Little did I know back in my youth that we would be losing wild life There is so much we didn t know back then, but then I remember my 8th grade teacher, Mr Bailey, telling us about the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, about a time when we would not be hearing song birds and other sounds of nature No one listened then they still don t listen When it is silent they will listen and not hear a thing.Like Silent Spring this book was written as another warning, and it won the Pulitzer Prize It is easy to understand and at times it is enjoyable, that is, if you like reading about nature.Did you know that there is a flower that ants live inside of, and that the flower allows them to live there because the ants kill other insects that may try to harm it Did you know that there are such things as antbutterflies that swarm around army ants, and that they live off the droppings of the antbirds that also swarm around the flower I love reading that kind of information, but then again, we are that sixth extinction that she writes about It is sad to see what we are doing to this planet and to learn that many species are dying daily My brother once said, We don t deserve this planet How true The author said some things that made me feel a little better but not by much She mentioned that during the last extinctions new life forms evolved New life forms sound encouraging, but who wants to lose what we have now I often think of how much we have Junked out this earth I wonder if it will die, or if something will happen that will save it When I read this next paragraph I thought of how nice it would be to have all of our Junk reduced to the size of a cigarette paper The author mentioned a scientist, Professor Jan Zalasiewicz, who is convinced that even a moderately competent stratigrapher will, at the distance of a hundred million years or so, be able to tell that something extraordinary happened at the moment in time that counts for us as today This is the case even though a hundred million years from now, all that we consider to be the great works of man the sculptures and the libraries, the monuments and the museums, the cities and the factories will be compressed into a layer of sediment not much thicker than a cigarette paper Other quotes Though it might be nice to imagine there once was a time when man lived in harmony with nature, it s not clear that he ever really did Under business as usual, by mid century things are looking rather grim, he told me a few hours after I had arrived at One Tree We were sitting at a beat up picnic table, looking out over the heartbreaking blue of the Coral Sea The island s large and boisterous population of terns was screaming in the background Atmospheric scientist Ken Caldeira paused I mean, they re looking grim already Having freed ourselves from the constraints of evolution, humans nevertheless remain dependent on the earth s biological and geochemical systems By disrupting these systems cutting down tropical rainforests, altering the composition of the atmosphere, acidifying the oceans we re putting our own survival in danger Ninety percent of all species on earth had been eliminated According to the UN Environment Programme, the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of life Scientists estimate that 150 200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours This is nearly 1,000 times the natural or background rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago Around 15% of mammal species and 11% of bird species are classified as threatened with extinction John Vidal, environment editor


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