Dr. Ehrlich, who rose to prominence in the 1960s after he wrote “The Population Bomb,” a book that predicted the imminent collapse of humanity because of overpopulation, said he saw a similar phenomenon in the animal world as a result of human activity. “There is only one overall solution, and that is to reduce the scale of the human enterprise,” he said. “Population growth and increasing consumption among the rich are driving it.” – The New York Times, 11 July 2017
One of the study’s authors is Stanford University biology professor Paul Ehrlich, who penned the 1968 book The Population Bomb. Ehrlich forecasted that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989, and by 1999 the U.S. population would have declined to 22.6 million [it’s now 326 million]. Ehrlich’s predictions about England were gloomier: ‘If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.’ Today Ehrlich says about mass-extinction episodes, “We are now moving into another one of these events that could easily, easily ruin the lives of everybody on the planet.” Question: Would you take investment advice from someone with a history of losing stock predictions? Why is anyone still listening to this man? –Selwyn Duke, The New American, 13 July 2017
This is not the first time the alarms of mass extinction has been raised. In 1970, Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, predicted that between 75 and 80 percent of all species of animals would be extinct by 1995. In 1979, the Oxford biologist Norman Myers suggested that the world could “lose one-quarter of all species by the year 2000.” Also in 1979, the Heinz Center biologist Thomas Lovejoy chimed in, estimating that between a seventh and a fifth of global diversity would become extinct by 2000. None of those dire predictions came true. –Ron Bailey, Reason Online, 12 July 2017
Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich has made a gaudy career of prophesying imminent ecological doom. “In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now,” he declared in his 1968 manifesto The Population Bomb. In the subsequent 50 years, as world population more than doubled, the proportion of chronically undernourished people in the world dropped from 33 percent in 1968 to 11 percent now. Ehrlich is now predicting population doom for the world’s animals. The cause? Human overpopulation, naturally. Fortunately, Ehrlich’s new extinction predictions are likely to be as accurate as his famine forecasts. –Ron Bailey, Reason Online, 12 July 2017
Surely our Anthropocene extinction can confidently take its place next to the juggernauts of deep time—the Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Triassic and Cretaceous extinctions. Doug Erwin says no. He thinks it’s junk science. “Many of those making facile comparisons between the current situation and past mass extinctions don’t have a clue about the difference in the nature of the data, much less how truly awful the mass extinctions recorded in the marine fossil record actually were,” he wrote me in an email. “It is absolutely critical to recognize that I am NOT claiming that humans haven’t done great damage to marine and terrestrial [ecosystems], nor that many extinctions have not occurred and more will certainly occur in the near future. But I do think that as scientists we have a responsibility to be accurate about such comparisons.” –Peter Brannen, The Atlantic, 13 June 2017
“The number of species living in virtually every country or island has already increased during the period of human influence, and numbers continue to increase.” The fauna and flora of Britain are much richer today than 10,000 years ago as a result of farming, towns, gardening, climate change and the deliberate introduction of exotic species. Thomas finds the same to be true in tropical forests in Cameroon, Costa Rica and Brazil: the net effect of some human disturbance can be more biodiversity. Professor Thomas, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist from York University, shows the upside for wildlife in the Anthropocene. He does not deny that human beings also cause problems for wildlife, far from it, but he does think we have almost entirely overlooked the gains for wildlife that our presence is also creating. I have for some time been thinking that while human beings have caused many species extinctions, they must also be causing many speciations. I have not quite had the courage to say so, for fear of being accused by the green thought police of going too far. Thomas has the courage I lack. –Matt Ridley, The Times, 5 July 2017
MALE, Maldives: A gradual rise in average sea level is threatening to completely cover this Indian Ocean nation of 1196 small islands with-in the next 30 years, according to authorities. The Environmental Affairs Director, Mr Hussein Shihab, said an estimated rise of 20 to 30 centimetres in the next 20 to 40 years could be “catastrophic” for most of the islands, which were no more than a metre above sea level. But the end of the Maldives and its 200,000 people could come sooner if drinking water supplies dry up by 1992, as predicted. –-AFP, 26 September 1988
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