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Mar 12, 2017

Half of all species could be extinct by end of century

Photo: snowmanradio/Wikipedia
The Kirtland's Warbler, a rare 'Near Threatened' bird of the Michigan, U.S.A., Jack Pine forests, is dependent on fire to provide the small trees and open areas that meet its rigid requirements for nesting.

One in five species on Earth face extinction
One in five species on Earth now faces extinction, and that will rise to 50% by the end of the century unless urgent is taken now.   This prediction came from the Biological Extinction conference, held at the Vatican recently.   "Rich western countries are now siphoning up the world's resources and destroying its ecosystems at an unprecedented rate", said biologist Paul Ehrlich, of Stanford University in California.   "We want to build highways across the Serengeti to get more rare earth minerals for our cellphones.   We grab all the fish from the sea, wreck the coral reefs and put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.   We have triggered a major extinction event".   
"If you value people, you want to have the maximum number you can support sustainedly.   You do not want almost 12 billion living unsustainedly on Earth by the end of the century - with the result that civilization will collapse and there are only a few hundred survivors".   
UN statistics suggest the global human population will grow from the current 7.4 billion to 11.2 billion by 2100.   As Sir Partha Dasgupta, of Cambridge University put it; most of the extra billions will appear in Africa, where the fertility rate is still twice that of the rest of the world.   "Africa's population is likely to go from one billion to 4 billion", said Dasgupta.   "Can you imagine what tensions there are going to be there, especially with climate change coming and hitting the continent more than anywhere else?   What do you think is going to happen when the arid regions spread, and a hundred million Africans try to swim across the Mediterranean?   It's terrifying."
Ehrlich agreed: "If you look at the figures, it is clear that to support today's world population sustainedly - and I emphasize the word sustainedly - you would require another half a planet to provide us with those resources.   However, if everyone consumed resources at the U.S.A. level - which is what the world aspires to - you need another four or five Earths.   We are wrecking our planet's life support systems."   
I found this to be extremely sobering speculation.
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