Home » Posts tagged 'extinction'

Tag Archives: extinction

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Study warns US farmland is now 48 TIMES more TOXIC to insects: Are neonicotinoids to blame for the impending “insect apocalypse?”

Image: Study warns US farmland is now 48 TIMES more TOXIC to insects: Are neonicotinoids to blame for the impending “insect apocalypse?”

(Natural News) Researchers have determined that the nation’s farmland is now 48 times more toxic to insects than it was just 25 years ago, and much of this rise in toxicity is being blamed on the widespread use of a dangerous category of pesticides known as neonicotinoids.

The study, which was published in the PLOS ONE journal, provided a thorough assessment of the use of pesticides in America and was the first study to determine just how dangerous our fields have grown for insects in recent years. The role of pesticides was dramatic; the scientists found that neonicotinoids were responsible for a remarkable 92 percent of the rise in toxicity.

Part of the problem is that neonicotinoids create a cumulative toxic burden because they are far more persistent within the environment than other types of commonly used insecticides, which is why the burden today is so much higher than it was a quarter century ago and is likely to grow even higher.

Study co-author Kendra Klein, Ph.D., said: “It is alarming that U.S. agriculture has become so much more toxic to insect life in the past two decades. We need to phase out neonicotinoid pesticides to protect bees and other insects that are critical to biodiversity and the farms that feed us.”

She also called for a shift from our food system’s dependence on dangerous pesticides toward organic methods of farming that work in harmony with nature instead of destroying it.

Will there be any insects left on our planet in the decades to come?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Extinction Via Rugged Individualism

Extinction Via Rugged Individualism

Black-tailed Prairie Dog, Greycliff, Montana. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

I was recently amused by a train of thought on Twitter excoriating Henry David Thoreau for his experiment in self-sufficient living. True, he was on the land of his wealthy neighbor, his mother did his laundry (and brought him old-timey donuts to eat), but it was rugged, dammit. Okay, it was something akin to a 10 year old living in a tree-house in the backyard with mom sending up sandwiches in one of those nifty rope and bucket contraptions, but this was a white man doing something and writing about it so of course it’s monumental and imbued with all sorts of significance. This to me, is a perfect analogy for America and its early beginnings. Never mind the back-breaking labor provided by the women, the horrendous slave trade and lethal work that made the infrastructure possible–the convenient clearing (genocide) of the already here peoples through illness and murder……. the narrative is that it was magically produced by powdered wig donning men who weren’t just all about a self-serving course correction. This fallacy has permeated the psyche of most Americans, and doesn’t allow for adequate self-reflection or improvement, and I would say is a path to eventual extinction if a new narrative and belief system isn’t adopted.

Nature gives us ample metaphor to realize the interconnectedness of our lives. I can never look at an Aspen grove and not consider the exquisite synergy of the system.  All tethered together in an interlocking root system—what affects one tree, manifests in the whole. The 80,000 year old Pando grove in Utah has managed this interplay.  For perspective, the last Neanderthals in Europe seem to have been around about 40,000 years ago. Working together has its benefits. We’ve managed to do incredible harm in only about 300 years. We could be gone rapidly and take Pando with us at this rate.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Extinction is Stalking Humanity

Extinction is Stalking Humanity

I have previously written a summary of the interrelated psychological, sociological, political-economic, military, nuclear, ecological and climate threats to human survival on Earth which threaten human extinction by 2026. See ‘Human Extinction by 2026? A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival’.

Rather than reiterate the evidence in the above article, I would like to add to it by focusing attention on three additional threats – geoengineering, medical vaccinations and electromagnetic radiation – that are less well-known (largely because the evidence is officially suppressed and only made available by conscientious investigative activists) and which, either separately or in combination with other threats, significantly increase the prospect of extinction for humans and most (and possibly all) life on Earth by the above date, particularly given the failure to respond strategically to these interrelated threats.

Before doing this, however, let me emphasize, yet again, that it is (unconscious) fear that is driving all of these crises in the first place and fear that underpins our collective failure to strategically address each of these interrelated threats in turn. And, as I have explained elsewhere and reiterate now, if we do not address this fear as a central feature of any overall strategy for survival, then extinction in the near term is certain. See, for example, ‘The Limited Mind: Why Fear is Driving Humanity to Extinction’.

So, beyond the usual issues that are considered imminent threats to human survival – particularly nuclear war, ecological collapse and climate catastrophe based on dysfunctional political, economic, legal and social institutions – let me briefly outline some of these other threats and, once again, invite a strategic response to each and all of these threats so that we give ourselves some chance of surviving.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Escaping extinction through paradigm shift

Escaping extinction through paradigm shift

‘Rebellion’ is not enough. We need to build new systems from the ground up, right now

Drone footage of displaced family tents in one settlement in Badghis, Afghanistan, due to ongoing drought and climate change. There are thousands of makeshift homes spread between mountain hills on the outskirt of Qala-i-naw city. (Source: NRC/Enayatullah Azad)

For the last month, as a journalist and academic, I’ve experienced a strange sensation of paralysis.

I don’t usually experience this. Usually I find myself driven by the pressures of wanting to cover with due justice a full spectrum of intersecting crises and potential solutions.

But this month watching the spectacle of political madness unfolding across Washington, London and Brussels, while chaos and suffering continues to kick off across Venezuela, Yemen, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Nigeria and beyond, I experienced something I haven’t felt in a long-time. A sense of total burn-out. Of futility. Of tiredness.

Watching the news has become like entering a psychological boxing ring where you get the shit punched out of you repeatedly until you drop to the floor, broken, bloodied, and inert: helpless.

I can’t imagine this is a particularly unique sensation. But I wanted to share it with you because this is common ground. Common ground across the deepening divides tearing our societies apart. No matter which side of the divide we stand on, that sensation of paralysis and helplessness is playing out in tangible form in the political processes we see out there.

The sensation of paralysis is therefore not just a psychological artifact. It’s the internal experience of the systemic dysfunction playing out in the world. It’s a reflection of the state of collapse that our prevailing democratic institutions are experiencing as they prove completely incapable of responding to and solving for the intricate complexity of inherently interconnected converging global crises.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Green New Physics

Green New Physics

Johannes Vermeer The lacemaker 1669-71

You could probably say I’m sympathetic to the schoolchildren protesting against climate change, and I’m sympathetic to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her call for a Green New Deal. Young people are the future, and they deserve a voice about that future. At the same time, I’m also deeply skeptical about their understanding of the issues they talk about. 

In fact, I don’t see much understanding at all. I think that’s because they base their comprehension of the world they’ve been born into on information provided by the very people they’re now protesting against. Look kids, your education system sucks, it was designed by those destroying your planet, you need to shake it off and get something better.

But I know what you will do instead: you’re going to get the ‘proper’ education to get a nice-paying job, with a nice car (green, of course) and a nice house etc etc. In other words, you will, at least most of you, be the problem, not solve it. And no shift towards wind or solar will make one iota of difference in that. Want to improve the world? Improve the education system first.

Climate change is just one of an entire array of problems the world faces, and in the same way the use of fossil fuels is just one of many causes of these problems. And focusing on only one aspect of a much broader challenge simply doesn’t appear to be a wise approach, if only because you risk exacerbating some problems while trying to fix others. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Planetary Collapse Threatens Our Survival: A New Study Says That More Than 1,200 Species “Will Almost Certainly Face Extinction”

Planetary Collapse Threatens Our Survival: A New Study Says That More Than 1,200 Species “Will Almost Certainly Face Extinction”

We are witnessing a worldwide environmental collapse, and nobody seems to know how to stop it.  As you will see below, a study that was just released that looked at more than 5,000 species of birds, mammals and amphibians discovered that nearly a quarter of them “will almost certainly face extinction”.  Never before has our society faced such a massive collapse of life on a planetary scale, and yet the vast majority of the population doesn’t seem concerned about what is happening.  Species after species is being permanently wiped out, and most of us couldn’t care less.

The time for action is now.  According to this new study, over 1,200 species will soon be extinct unless dramatic action is taken.  The following comes from the Guardian

More than 1,200 species globally face threats to their survival in more than 90% of their habitat and “will almost certainly face extinction” without conservation intervention, according to new research.

Scientists working with Australia’s University of Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society have mapped threats faced by 5,457 species of birds, mammals and amphibians to determine which parts of a species’ habitat range are most affected by known drivers of biodiversity loss.

Once these species are gone, they will be gone forever.

And remember, this study from Australia only included larger creatures such as birds, mammals and amphibians.  The situation is far more dire when we look at what is happening to the insect world.  The following is an excerpt from my previous article entitled “Insect Apocalypse: The Global Food Chain Is Experiencing A Major Extinction Event And Scientists Don’t Know Why”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Which species are we sure we can survive without?” Revisited

“Which species are we sure we can survive without?” Revisited

Two years ago I asked the question in the title of this piece. Now comes a wide-ranging study that suggests we are about to test that question in a major way.

The study predicts that at the current rate of loss of insect species, 40 percent could be gone “in the next few decades.” What is particularly alarming is that this “could trigger wide-ranging cascading effects within several of the world’s ecosystems.” That means that many other life-forms including other animals and plants could find themselves without what they need to survive in this dangerous game of musical chairs orchestrated by humans. Might we be one of those species?

Insects do much of the crop pollination necessary for food production. A list of crops pollinated by bees is quite long. Humans could survive without these foods, but the nutrition and variety in our diets would be severely limited. And yet there is a greater problem. Outside of agriculture 80 to 95 percent of plant species require animal pollination. Since those plants are the base of every food chain, catastrophic declines in insect populations could lead to a collapse of existing ecosystems. The exact scope and effects of such a collapse cannot be fully anticipated. But it is doubtful humans would be unharmed.

Human civilization uses an enormous amount of free ecoservices, that is, services provided by nature including the purification of water, the formation of soil, the regulation of climate, and energy resources such as hydropower and biomass. However one values these services, the value is enormous. If humans had to pay for these services, that is, if we had to set up mechanical and chemical substitutes, we would never able to afford it. But, we probably wouldn’t be able to set up substitute systems that work as precisely and effectively as nature’s.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Insect Apocalypse: The Global Food Chain Is Experiencing A Major Extinction Event And Scientists Don’t Know Why

Insect Apocalypse: The Global Food Chain Is Experiencing A Major Extinction Event And Scientists Don’t Know Why

Scientists are telling us that we have entered “the sixth major extinction” in the history of our planet.  A brand new survey of 73 scientific reports that was just released has come to the conclusion that the total number of insects on the globe is falling by 2.5 percent per year.  If we stay on this current pace, the survey warns that there might not be “any insects at all” by the year 2119.  And since insects are absolutely critical to the worldwide food chain, that has extremely ominous implications for all of us.

I write a lot about the inevitable collapse of our economic systems, but it could definitely be argued that our environment is already in a very advanced stage of “collapse”.  According to this new research, insects are going extinct at a rate that is “eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles”…

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

Perhaps the entire world will come together and will stop destroying the planet and we can reverse this trend before it is too late.

Unfortunately, you and I both know that this is extremely unlikely to happen.

And if it doesn’t happen, the researchers that conducted this scientific review insist that the consequences will be “catastrophic to say the least”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What will it feel like to be left behind?

What will it feel like to be left behind?

Chris Martenson’s recent article about collapse and the plummeting of biodiversity made me think about what it feels like to be left behind.  Few people living in affluent countries or communities understand what this means. 

Americans closed their eyes to the plight of people in underdeveloped countries whose soil, water, and air were exploited by US corporations seeking profits at the expense of people.  Instead we touted our booming economic growth as American exceptionalism.  We deserved a better lifestyle because we earned it, right?  But today as billionaires are capturing more and more of the world’s wealth and most of the rest are being left behind, we no longer think the situation is fair.  We don’t enjoy it when we are the ones left behind. “The 12% increase in the wealth of the very richest contrasted with a fall of 11% in the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population.”

Human exploitation of the environment is competing for the resources other species of life need to survive.  Climate change and the use of pesticides toxic to most species is causing a severe decline in species of insects, amphibians, birds, butterflies, bats, etc.  It is also causing a decline in human health.  Species are going extinct at rates unprecedented except by catastrophic natural events such as a meteorite impact.  Our decision to protect or conserve nature has evolved from ideas in the 1960’s that we should protect “nature for nature itself” to the idea in the 1990’s that we should preserve “nature for people”.     Economic policy dictated that the needs of people mattered first and foremost.  It is only more recently that people are slowly realizing the importance of natural ecosystems, and that it is “humans and nature” we need to understand and protect.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

End Times, Dead Ahead

End Times, Dead Ahead

“It is time we consider the implications of it being too late to avert a global environmental catastrophe in the lifetimes of people alive today.” (Jem Bendell)

In other words, the world is coming to an end.

Of course it is… but when?

Professor Jem Bendell’s brilliant seminal work, “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy” d/d July 27th 2018, claims the time is now, within a decade, not sometime in the distant future. Not only that, he suggests embracing this transcendental experience that’s colloquially known as “End Times.”

Along those lines, a powerful intimately conceived film by ScientistsWarningTV.org produced by Stuart Scott captures Bendell’s inner thoughts about “what’s important” in the face of near extinction:

Bendell’s 15-minute video monologue should be viewed in the context of the current status of the world’s climate crisis, which is a mindboggling steroid-enhanced-CO2-laced trip to nowhere but trouble, and it’s smack dab on target (actually ahead of target) for a grim, bleak world that alters all life and contorts the socio-economic compact, meaning sudden death for the “neoliberal brand” of capitalism, which will not survive once the world comes to accept and recognize its inherent villainy, notably its massive extensive disruption of the earth system of life, or Gaia.

Even worse yet, total annihilation of almost all life is a probability, a scenario that a small minority of scientists embrace. Those scientists believe that an extinction event is baked-in-the-cake, inevitable, inescapable within current lifetimes because of excessive human-caused greenhouse gases such as CO2, which, in turn, disrupts James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, meaning the biosphere has a self-regulatory effect on Earth that sustains life. Destroy one ecosystem and all others will fail in time and most of Earth becomes uninhabitable.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Coffee Tree Extinction And The Caffeine Blues

Coffee Tree Extinction And The Caffeine Blues


Is man’s second-best friend at risk of extinction?

What lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease, boosts your brain cells and adds years to your life? Health experts will tell you that would be coffee. A morning cup of Joe not only gives many of us the jolt we need to face the day ahead but it’s just plain damn good for you. Perhaps this is why scientists are issuing a dreaded warning: coffee tree extinction is on the horizon.

For the last 20 years, scientists have been studying the coffee bean which really does grow on trees. But research now shows that 60% of the coffee trees around the world are rapidly leaving the planet due to disease, deforestation – and dare we say, climate change.

Even if you throw out that last one – the climate change business – something is definitely going on with coffee trees that is rather distressing. While this news may come as a tragedy to those of us who live quite happily with our caffeine addiction, there are other worrisome aspects to this news.

Coffee Is Big Business

Widely consumed, coffee is a multibillion-dollar business. As of 2015, coffee represented a $225.2B industry in the United States. American consumers spent $74.2B on coffee in that calendar year which supported 1,694,710 coffee-related jobs. The National Coffee Association also estimates that the government rakes in $28B in taxes on coffee products.

Your cup of java is primarily made up of two types of coffee trees: Arabica (Coffea arabica) which represents 60% of the crop consumed. The other 40% is composed of Robusta (Coffea canephora). There are other smaller types of coffee species – a total of 124 to be exact – but these two represent the mother-lode of coffee that is farmed, traded and shipped to consumers worldwide.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Confronting extinction

Confronting extinction

Photo by Julia Hawkins (Flickr)

With high-profile direct actions across London, the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement has captured media headlines, garnered influential supporters, and inspired a wave of participants across the globe. From blocking bridges to occupying government departments, XR has sounded alarm bells at the extinction before us, demanding a more radical response.

As global carbon emissions surge, and extreme weather ravages communities from Iraq to Uganda, the need is certainly acute. Many have indicated that the emergence of XR marks a step change in the fight to tackle climate change, with the movement well-positioned to break the deadlock of past activism, and usher in a new phase of invigorated climate politics. Even the Financial Times has paid notice to the fact that ‘tediously law-abiding, taxpaying homeowners’ are now among the activists getting arrested and taking action.

Yet XR has also faced a range of criticisms not unfamiliar to the environmental movement. The movement’s embracing attitude to the police, the absence of safe spaces policies, and its particular messaging, have echoed longstanding questions around the inclusivity and priorities of the environmental movement.

On November 17th, as thousands of XR participants blocked bridges across the Thames, just hundreds of yards away, 30,000 people marched as part of a major demonstration against racism and fascism. This moment symbolises perhaps one of the greatest obstacles to the systemic change we need, as surmised by sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos: ‘the tragedy of our time is that domination is united and resistance is fragmented.’

As XR sets its sights higher and expands internationally, the need for a critical conversation about its role and potential within a more potent global climate movement gain importance.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ten 2018 Extinction Awards

Ten 2018 Extinction Awards

Given the way people are transforming the earth into a place where the human species cannot survive, it is only right and just that we honor achievement in the race to extinction.

Without further ado, here are the top eight Extinction Awards of 2018.

2018 Extinction Global Person of the Year Award: Donald J. Trump         

One person did more in 2018 to advance the extinction of the human race than any other.  While space makes it impossible to list all the ways he acted to damage the earth, a look at just a few of the highlights from 2018 gives a clear snapshot.  In 2018, he made it easier for coal plants to pollute, made it easier for industry to engage in hazardous air pollution, announced the US will be pulling out of a twenty year old nuclear weapons treaty, started to rollback vehicle mileage standards, opened up oil and gas drilling on millions of acres of protected public lands, vigorously opposed the rights of children in the US to challenge the federal government for its role in global warming, and is making it easier for oil and gas companies to drill in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. The world cannot forget that in 2017 he displayed his dedication to extinction when he boldly withdrew the US from the Paris climate agreement.

2018 Extinction Award for Country: United States

Worldwide, the United States produces the most oil, consumes the most oil, consumes the most natural gas, produces the most solid waste, and eats the most meat per capita (264 pounds per person).   The US is second in the world in fuel emissions, second in carbon dioxide emissions, and third in consumption of coal.  The US has over 6500 nuclear weapons putting it a close second to Russia which has 6550 and is planning to build many more.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bearing Witness to Extinction

Bearing Witness to Extinction

“Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.”

– Carl Sagan

“To argue that the current extinction event could be averted if people just cared more and were willing to make more sacrifices is not wrong, exactly; still, it misses the point. It doesn’t much matter whether people care or don’t care. What matters is that people change the world. This capacity predates modernity.”

– Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

According to a study by the WWF the earth has lost over half of its wildlife in just 40 years. A staggering statistic that should shake every conscious person to their core. Each of us is a witness to this Great Dying, the sixth mass extinction, the last one being 65 million years ago which wiped out the dinosaurs.Yet despite overwhelming evidence of a rapidly crashing biosphere many leaders, if not most, in the privileged global north seem oblivious or apathetic to the carnage.All around the planet wildlife populations are in a free fall, from birds to amphibians to mammals to marine life to insects. But today the interests of capital not only dominate our economic, media and political order, they dominate our consciousness.

The Latin meaning for homo sapiens is “wise man.” But as I ponder our precarious position on theprecipice of the Sixth Mass Extinction I cannot help but be struck by its glaring irony. Standing in a cemetery crowded with the bones of countless species I am left with little room to marvel at our cleverness. The magicians and merchants of corporate consumerism have fostered this pernicious disconnection from the natural world and have created a labyrinth of distractions and doubts that numb the senses to our own looming demise.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Dumb Ways to Die: Welcome to Our Mass Suicide

Dumb Ways to Die: Welcome to Our Mass Suicide

So…here we are, only a year away from 2020 and contemplating another year in the struggle for survival. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says we’ve got about 12 years to turn this climate change thing around and that’s just to avoid catastrophe, never mind guaranteeing a healthy planet in the future. Such a catastrophe could well involve the extinction of human beings, which would reveal just how dumb we are. Is there anything more stupid that the most intelligently-evolved species on the planet could do than commit mass suicide?

Barbarism and Extinction

I am astounded at the tenacity, resilience and persistence of folks such as climate scientist James Hansen who, on behalf of future generations, have been shouting about the environmental threat since the late 1980s. And, since those days of his Congressional testimony Hansen, who worked for many years at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has courageously spread the word about climate change to fulfill part of NASA’s mission statement: To Understand and Protect the Home Planet.

Indeed, this was part of the mission statement of NASA until 2006 when those fateful words were quietly and very symbolically removed. Organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists were very disturbed about this development, noting at the time that research and funding opportunities related to earth science and climate change would be much harder to justify with NASA’s new focus solely on space exploration. Some may say it’s a bloody good job that we are learning more about life on other planets and how we can get there, given that a privileged bunch of us may have to flee this one at some point in the not-to-distant future. And, given the inequalities inherent in our current economic order, it will be only the rich that are saved.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase