Ecology, habitat, species extinction,
biodiversity? Are these important?
Actually, as a practical matter,
almost everybody ignores these fundamentals.It really doesn't seem to matter what you say
about ecology if you aren't a scientist. If you are a scientist you're so far
out of it that nobody listens either. Those pesky scientists have spent the
last century and more explaining in exquisite detail. But ecologists have
talked to themselves and the few concerned individuals who've taken a sincere
interest have talked to themselves as well.
On November 18, 1992, the Union of Concerned
Scientists, representing over 1,500 of the world's leading scientists
(including 99 Nobel laureates) issued an "Urgent Warning to Humanity," that
implored all peoples of the world to halt the accelerating damage to Mother
Earth's life support systems. The scientists warned us that, "we may have as
little as ten years to avert the environmental disasters that now confront us."
"The human world is beyond its limits. The present way of
doing things is unsustainable. The future, to be viable at all, must be one
drawing back, easing down, healing." If correction is not made, a collapse is
certain "within the lifetimes of many who are alive today."
Peter Raven, President of the International Botanical
Congress at its 16th worldwide conference, August 2, 1999 announced:
predicting the extinction of about two-thirds of all bird, mammal, butterfly
and plant species by the end of the next century, based on current trends." In
other words, we humans are causing a mass extinction of species greater than
the extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs 65
million years ago. This is a very big deal, folks - if loss of 2/3rds of
these species doesn't qualify as a major ecological collapse, we don't know
what does. This should be front-page, red banner headline news, but it's
not. The UN and every country around the world should be calling for
emergency conferences, but they're not.
The Biodiversity Crisis,
Peter Raven, Washington University
Earth in the Balance,
Peter Raven, Washington University
Worldwatch press releases:
Is Worldwatch becoming mainstream?
Let's hope so. Lester
Brown started Worldwatch in 1974. That's a long time ago.
encouraging signs. A four member panel of CIA researchers from the Bush Center
for Intelligence, on a two part ABC NightLine series broadcast in January,
2001, listened as Sandra Postel, a Worldwatch researcher, and author of
Pillars of Sand, presented evidence to back their assertion that water
will be a significant source of future wars.Worldwatch has hosted a
multipart series for CNN.
In Japan, Lester Brown has co-hosted many program
series broadcast on NHK, beginning from 1998, in which he has presented a
condensed form of the information which has been made available by Worldwatch
during the last decade.Could humans finally be listening?
"the human species will experience the unfolding of an
entire geological epoch in less than one lifetime. . . . The potential damage
to life and property along coastal areas is likely to be unprecedented in human
history... If we continue to ignore the Entropy Law and its role in
defining the broad context in which our physical world unfolds, then we shall
do so at the risk of our own (lives)." Jeremy Rifkin, ENTROPY: Into the Greenhouse World
Sounds horrible doesn't it? Imagine that. An entire
geological epoch unfolding not just a part of a geological epoch, but an entire
one. Maybe you could start an epoch refolding society. Put Pandora back in the
box. Put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Millions of humans switch on expensive PCs. Ipso
facto, they fancy themselves technological wizards. How many of you know
the second and third laws of thermodynamics? How many know what that has to do
with ecology? How many know what entropy is or what it has to do with ecology?
In recent years Gallup performed a poll which showed that only 40% of adult
Americans surveyed could distinguish between an atom and a molecule.*
Beam me up Scotty.
*Only 1 in 50,000 could identify a chiral carbon in an
organic molecule, but that's more understandable...Here's an easy one. Pick the chiral carbons in this pair of
enantiomers. Then name the compound which has one chlorine, four carbons and
Place cursor over
image to check your answer.