How humans are driving the sixth mass extinction

Scientists have been warning for decades that human actions are pushing life on our shared planet toward mass extinction. Such extinction events have occurred five times in the past, but a bold new paper finds that this time would be fundamentally different. Fortunately, there’s still time to stop it.

“Still, the large scale of modern societies is daunting, and for these trends to reach their full potential will require far greater strategic effort – just letting things happen will not yield a better future.”

practical solutions “will require a combination of conservation, restoration, rewilding, engineering, emergence, and design.”

“We must recognize that there is no option to ‘leave the Earth alone,’ “The responsibility for the future of the planet is ours now.”

It’s a big responsibility – bigger than any other species on Earth has ever faced – and so far we’ve hardly proved ourselves up to it. But there is still time. And time means hope – but not without action.

The Limits to Growth: A Report to The Club of Rome (1972)

I am deeply convinced that there is no hope. We are doomed because of our genetic heritage. Contemporary humans are not able to change their behavior in a way necessary for their survival. Probability that they will destroy themselves in this century is about 0,9. About 90% of humans will go extinct. The remaining will be thrown back for 100-1000 years.  Will they be able to learn from our extinction? I am not sure, but let us hope. Imants Vilks

It does seem that even in a best-case scenario, we are headed for a population bottleneck within the next couple of centuries.  This will most likely be precipitated by the combination of rising population in some parts of the world, increased problems with access to water for irrigation, increased losses of crops due to severe weather and opportunistic plant diseases, increased loss of top soils due to high winds and flooding, and finally a loss of liquid fuels to transport food and run farms as the fracking era ends.

These problems are well-known to our leaders.  They are simply complacent because we ask no more of them.  Despite our self-centered and violent genetic heritage, we also inherited brains that can override these lower tendencies.  A loud public outcry for change, and a refusal to accept complacent and/or corrupt leadership, would make a difference.  But it’s as if everyone has just accepted that our fate is inevitable, and will quietly wait for the hour of doom to strike. Christine

It depends upon what you mean by “doom.”  A collapse or implosion of our current civilization seems quite probable.  This would mean that a century or two from now humanity will be in what we might call a dark age.  It could be there will only be a few hundred million people then.  Whether this is a permanent situation or not is uncertain; will civilization of some new form rise from that ashes?  As for for doom, if after the collapse human population keeps dropping so that a thousand years from now there are a few million humans, then beyond then a few 10s of thousands and …, then we will go extinct.  That depends upon whether the environmental entropy we generate renders long term survival of our species impossible.  It is no likely humanity will cease to exist in a single disastrous moment. LC

About basicrulesoflife

Year 1935. Interests: Contemporary society problems, quality of life, happiness, understanding and changing ourselves - everything based on scientific evidence.
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