To Be or Not to Be?: Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

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Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

For four decades I have been speaking about the sixth mass extinction and the threat that we have become to our own future and the future of most species on this planet.

Now at last the mainstream media is beginning to notice.

For decades my concerns have been ridiculed and criticized for being an alarmist and a doomsday prophet.

When it comes to ecological threats, humans always seem to do very little too late.

There are solutions but for the majority of humanity all the real solutions are unacceptable. They want solutions without sacrificing their life styles.

We have to understand that farmlands will nor survive if we kill the bacteria in the soil. We have to understand that 7.5 billion meat eating, fish eating primates are rapidly destroying entire eco-systems.

The life support systems of the Earth, our Ocean, our rainforests, the biosphere are all being rapidly diminished.

If humanity does not reject anthropocentrism and if we refuse to abide by the laws of ecology we will not survive as a species.

We will be the victims of our own ignorance and our own arrogance. Homo sapiens have devolved into Homo arrogantus ignoramus.

We have become trapped within a matrix of our own creation, living in a world of anthropocentric fantasies and ignoring ecological realities.

Diminishment is escalating much faster than we seem to realize. Fisheries have been collapsing for years, climate change is accelerating, species extinction is accelerating, plastic, noise, chemical and radiation pollutants are poisoning the sea.

And less that 3% of humanity understands that if bees and trees, worms and phytoplankton are diminished we are diminished and if these species go extinct so do we.

Since 1950 we have had a 40% diminishment of phytoplankton in the sea and phytoplankton supplies over 70% of the oxygen we breathe. No phytoplankton = no humanity.

And despite these facts, Norway and Japan are building fleets to mass harvest krill to provide a cheap protein source for livestock.

We slaughter 65 billion animals a year and remove tens of billions more animals from the sea creating more greenhouse gases in the process than produced by the entire transportation industry.

And yet most people choose to be unaware, to be willfully ignorant or they simply don’t care.

Why is it that the late wolf biologist Dr. Gordon Haber was fined $150,000 for freeing a wolf from a trap but a man from a prep school in Hawaii received only $1,000 fine and 45 days in jail for viciously killing 17 endangered Laysan albatross and causing $200,000 worth of damage to a conservation project?

Why is it that over a thousand conservationists and environmentalists have been murdered and rarely have the killers been brought to justice.

The human race is terrorizing the entire living world and blaming everything but ourselves. Why do we allow sick people like Walter Palmer to practice their perverted ‘sport’ and call it conservation? Big game hunters are simply sexually and emotionally inadequate people given a license to kill by governments that value profits over life.

A few years ago a ranger in Zimbabwe was severely criticized for killing a poacher who was about to kill a black rhino. Human rights groups were appalled asking how killing a man to protect an animal can ever be justified.

The ranger responded by saying that if a man ran out of Barclay’s bank in Harare with a bag of money and if he was a policeman and shot the man in the head, he would not have been criticized. They would have given him a medal for the deed.

“How is it,” he said, “that a bag of paper has more value than the future heritage of Zimbabwe?”

Our values are dictated by anthropocentric desires without any recognition of the ultimate importance of bio-diversity.

The choice for us, if we are to survive is to embrace the laws of ecology and learn to live in harmony and with respect for all other species and to accept that we are part of and not dominant over nature.

Many scientists say it’s clear that Earth is entering its sixth mass-extinction, meaning three-quarters of all species could disappear in the coming centuries.
CNN.COM|BY JOHN SUTTER

Sixth mass extinction: The era of ‘biological annihilation’

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/11/world/sutter-mass-extinction-ceballos-study/index.html

Story highlights

  • Scientists have said it’s clear that Earth is entering its sixth mass-extinction event
  • Study: A third of the 27,600 species are shrinking in terms of numbers and territorial range
  • “What is at stake is really the state of humanity,” study author says

John D. Sutter is a columnist for CNN who focuses on climate change and social justice. Follow him on SnapchatTwitter and Facebook or subscribe to his email newsletter.

(CNN)Many scientists say it’s abundantly clear that Earth is entering its sixth mass-extinction event, meaning three-quarters of all species could disappear in the coming centuries.

That’s terrifying, especially since humans are contributing to this shift.
But that’s not even the full picture of the “biological annihilation” people are inflicting on the natural world, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Gerardo Ceballos, an ecology professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and his co-authors, including well-known Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich, cite striking new evidence that populations of species we thought were common are suffering in unseen ways.
“What is at stake is really the state of humanity,” Ceballos told CNN.
Their key findings: Nearly one-third of the 27,600 land-based mammal, bird, amphibian and reptile species studied are shrinking in terms of their numbers and territorial range. The researchers called that an “extremely high degree of population decay.”
The scientists also looked at a well-studied group of 177 mammal species and found that all of them had lost at least 30% of their territory between 1900 and 2015; more than 40% of those species “experienced severe population declines,” meaning they lost at least 80% of their geographic range during that time.
Looking at the extinction crisis not only in terms of species that are on the brink but also those whose populations and ranges are shrinking helps show that “Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe” than previously thought, the authors write. They say a major extinction event is “ongoing.”
“It’s the most comprehensive study of this sort to date that I’m aware of,” said Anthony Barnosky, executive director of the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve at Stanford University, who was not involved in the study. Its value, Barnosky said, is that it makes visible a phenomenon typically unseen by scientists and the public: that even populations of relatively common species are crashing.
“We’ve got this stuff going on that we can’t really see because we’re not constantly counting numbers of individuals,” he said. “But when you realize that we’ve wiped out 50% of the Earth’s wildlife in the last 40 years, it doesn’t take complicated math to figure out that, if we keep cutting by half every 40 years, pretty soon there’s going to be nothing left.”
Stuart Pimm, chair of conservation ecology at Duke University in North Carolina, summed up the the concept this way: “When I look out over the woods that constitute my view from my window here, I know we no longer have wolves or panthers or black bears wandering around. We have eliminated a lot of species from a lot of areas. So we no longer have a functional set of species across large parts of the planet.”
This is an important point to emphasize, Pimm said. But the new paper’s analysis risks overstating the degree to which extinction events already are occurring, he said, and the research methodology does not have the level of granularity needed to be particularly useful for conservationists.
“What good mapping does is to tell you where you need to act,” Pimm said. “The value of the Ceballos paper is a sense of the problem. But given there’s a problem, what the bloody hell are we going to do about it?”
Often, scientists who study crisis in the natural world focus on species that are at high and short-term risk for extinction. These plants and animals tend to be odd and unfamiliar, often restricted to one island or forest. You probably didn’t notice, for example, that the Catarina pupfish, native to Mexico, went extinct in 2014, according to the paper. Or that a bat called the Christmas Island pipistrelle is thought to have vanished in 2009.
Meanwhile, as this research shows, entire populationsof other plants and animals are crashing, even if they’re not yet on the brink of extinction. Some of these are well-known.
Consider the African elephant. “On the one hand, you can say, ‘All right, we still have around 400,000 elephants in Africa, and that seems like a really big number,’ ” Barnosky said. “But then, if you step back, that’s cut by more than half of what their populations were in the early part of last century. There were well over 1 million elephants (then).
“And if you look at what’s happened in the last decade, we have been culling their numbers so fast that if we kept up with that pace, there would be no more wild elephants in Africa in 20 years.”
Twenty years. No more African elephants. Think about that.
Barn swallows and jaguars are two other examples, according to Ceballos, the lead author of the paper. Both are somewhat common in terms of their total numbers, he said, but their decline is troubling in some places.
Such population crashes can, of course, lead to inevitable extinctions. And currently, scientists say that species are going extinct at roughly 100 times what would be considered normal — perhaps considerably more.
There has been some dispute lately about whether the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event already has begun or is simply on the horizon, but there is little disagreement among scientists that humans are driving an unprecedented ecological crisis.
And the causes are well-known. People are burning fossil fuels, contributing to climate change. They’re chopping down forests and other habitat for agriculture, to the point 37% of Earth’s land surface now is farmland or pasture, according to the World Bank. The global population of people continues to rise, along with our thirst for land and consumption. And finally, but not exclusively, poachers are driving numbers of elephantspangolins, rhinos, giraffes and other creatures with body parts valuable on the black market to worryingly low levels.
All of this is contributing to a rapid decline in wild creatures, both on land and in the ocean.
Ceballos’ paper highlights the urgency of this crisis — and the need for change.
“The good news is, we still have time,” he said. “These results show it is time to act. The window of opportunity is small, but we can still do something to save species and populations.”
Otherwise, “biological annihilation” continues.

Sorry Nerds, But Colonizing Other Planets Is Not A Good Plan

by Adam Ozimek, Contributor

In November, Stephen Hawking warned that humans needed to colonize another planet within 1,000 years. Now, six months later, he’s saying we have to do it within 100 years in order to avoid extinction. There’s a problem with this plan: under almost no circumstances does is colonizing another planet the best way to adapt to a problem on earth.

Shutterstock

Let’s start with Mars, which is a favorite planet for colonization scenarios, including for Elon Musk who thinks we should colonize Mars because earth will eventually face a “doomsday scenario”. The problem with this is that there is almost nothing that could happen to earth that would make it less hospitable than Mars. Whether it’s nuclear war or massive global warming, post disaster earth would be way more habitable than Mars.

For example, we worry that the oceans on earth will get too polluted, or too acidified, or rise up too high. It’s true that could make life on earth very hard. But on Mars the only surface water is frozen in the polar ice caps. We would be hard pressed to ruin the water on earth so badly that it’s worse than what’s available on Mars.

We also worry about the level of carbon dioxide we humans are creating. But there’s nothing we could do to earth’s atmosphere to make it as bad as Mars, which is both extremely thin and also 96% carbon dioxide. Not to mention a significantly lower level of gravity. Whatever we’d have to do on Mars to make the atmosphere habitable would be more easily done on a very very ruined earth.

Even if an asteroid were to strike earth it would remain more habitable than mars. For example, consider the asteroid that struck the earth 66 million years ago creating the Chicxulub crater and wiping out 75% of plant and animal species on earth, including the dinosaurs. Well that disaster still left 25% of species that survived, all of whom would die instantly on the surface of Mars.

If an asteroid like this was heading for the earth here’s what we would do instead of abandoning the planet. First, we’d try to deflect it. If we didn’t know how to do that, everyone who lived on the part of the planet where it was going to land would move to safer parts of the planet. If need be we’d create biodomes and move into them, maybe even at the bottom of the ocean. “Impossible!” you say? “Technology and human behavior would never allow this!” you insist? It’s true it would be extremely hard and today’s technology wouldn’t allow it. And yet it would still be way, way easier than colonizing another planet. If you think getting humans to abandon a continent peacefully is hard, try getting them to abandon the planet.

Perhaps we could focus on colonizing another planet then. One with an atmosphere closer to ours than Mars. This may be possible, but the technology required to do this is a far smaller life than the technology required to build habitable ecosystems on the bottom of the ocean, deflect asteroids, reverse global warming, or cure pandemics. The closest star system to us is Alpha Centauri, which is 4.3 light years away. At a max speed of around 17,000 mph would take existing space shuttles 165,000 years to reach this. Even the faster New Horizon probe, the first to visit Pluto, would take 78,000 years.

The technology required to travel fast enough to get to other planets makes geoengineering to reverse climate change seem quaint.

It is hard to come up with a scenario where evacuating the earth makes the most sense. So why do so many smart people obsess about it? I think the issue is that nerds find space travel and colonizing other planets extremely appealing because they love science fiction and space exploration exciting. That’s fine, and if some billionaires want to colonize Mars for fun I say go for it. But unfortunately, their nerd desires are biasing their assessment of how humanity should prepare for doomsday threats. Sorry nerds, we won’t be evacuating earth. If we are underestimating the risks of doomsday threats, lets instead invest in the technologies that will help protect earth from them. Even though I am not an expert on space, physical sciences, or basically any relevant field, I can tell that this is obviously true. Maybe just it takes an economist to see through the nerd fantasies.

ADDENDUM: The goal of colonizing to preserve the species rather than evacuate doesn’t make sense either. If there are habitable planets within reach, then there must be many, many habitable planets that aren’t within reach. In this case the Drake Equation implies humans are not alone in the universe, and therefore our existence is far less special, lowering the benefit of preserving humanity. In a world of other habitable planets, saving the actual life on earth grows in importance compared to preserving the species somewhere in the universe.

Stephen Hawking says we have 100 years to colonize a new planet—or die. Could we do it?

http://www.popsci.com/stephen-hawking-human-extinction-colonize-mars

Here’s what it would take to survive this particular doomsday prophecy

human on Mars

Living on Mars would arguably be harder than fixing up our own planet.

NASA

Stephen Hawking is making apocalyptic predictions again. The respected theoretical physicist warns that humanity needs to become a multi-planetary species within the next century if we don’t want to go extinct. Last year, he prophesied that we had maybe 1,000 years left on Earth, and the inspiration for this newly-urgent timeline is unclear—except for the fact that Hawking’s new documentary about colonizing Mars is coming out soon.

To be sure, Earth is facing some big problems, including climate change, overpopulation, epidemics, and asteroid strikes. But before we flee this planet like an action hero jumping out of an explosion, let’s think about this for a second. Sure, it’d be great to have a backup civilization somewhere in case asteroids wipe out all life on Earth. And it would be one of the most exciting things humankind has ever done. But what would it actually require.

Finding a second home for humanity

Mars is a somewhat obvious choice because it’s nearby, but it’s not exactly Earth 2.0. In fact, it’s arguably a lot worse off than Earth. It has toxic soil, it’s freezing cold, and the air is unbreathable. Any Martian colony would likely rely on regular care packages from home, which would not work well if Earth was done-zo.

If we really want to find the perfect home away from home, we could look to other star systems: with billions of planets in the Milky Way, there’s a good chance some will have water, land, and breathable air. But so far we haven’t found Earth’s twin, and our telescopes don’t have the kind of resolution that could tell us in detail what an exoplanet is like. Also, it would take hundreds of years to get there, and if those passengers don’t die along the way, they’d likely evolve into a new species before they even got to their new planet.

Bringing enough people

We would need to send significant numbers of people to other worlds in order to ensure the survival of the human species. Small colonies are subject to genetic anomalies from inbreeding, and vulnerable to getting wiped out in accidents.

NASA’s missions to Mars will likely only carry as many as six people at a time to the red planet. SpaceX wants to develop an Interplanetary Transport System to deliver 100 Martian settlers at a time, but at the moment it is nothing more than an imaginary behemoth.

The interstellar route is even more challenging, because we don’t even have an imaginary spacecraft capable of supporting thousands of people for hundreds of years on an interstellar journey.

And in either case, there’s always the politically charged question of: who goes and who stays? Do poor and disadvantaged people get left behind on a hellish world?

mars

Could we make Mars look like Earth?

Making ourselves at home

If we really want to thrive on another planet, we’ll probably have to adapt the environment to suit our needs. Sure, we might be able to terraform Mars, but it would take about 100,000 years for its atmosphere to become breathable. Hope you’re not in a rush to go outdoors without a gas mask anytime soon.

Paying for it

NASA’s Journey to Mars is expected to cost up to $1.5 trillion. And that’s just for the first crews. Later on, launches bringing settlers and supplies to the colony would probably still cost hundreds of millions of dollars each.

And SpaceX’s plan to build the Interplanetary Transport System sounds great, but CEO Elon Musk has been very open about saying the company has no idea how it would pay for such a vessel.

And exactly who would pay to colonize Mars? Why would the U.S. government spend all that money to sustain a colony? What would we get out of it, besides better chances for the survival of our species? Will the Martian colony produce valuable exports, besides the (obviously awesome) scientific discoveries that would come out of it?

Surely there are a few wealthy Earthlings willing to pay millions of dollars each for a ride to and a habitat on an alien world, but the majority of folks who want to go to the red planet hope to come home afterwards.

Solving the problems that are killing Earth

History has a tendency to repeat itself. Even if we do successfully colonize another planet, we’ll still have to solve all the problems that Earth currently faces. Our technologies are just as likely to destroy the environment on other planets, and epidemics and asteroids could wipe out a Martian settlement much easier than they could obliterate the entire population of Earth.

The television show that Stephen Hawking is promoting is all about how human ingenuity is solving the challenges of colonizing Mars. Well, surely if we can figure out how to survive on a completely alien world, then we can figure out how to survive in our own home—possibly a lot more easily and cheaply than the alternative.

Hunter takes down massive elk in Idaho desert

Boise hunter Gavin Moody of Boise took down this elk in the Owyhee Desert. (Photo courtesy Gavin Moody via Idaho Fish and Game).

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) — Gavin Moody still can’t believe his eyes.

The Boise hunter was on a scouting trip in the Owyhee Desert when he noticed a juniper tree had been stripped of bark 10 feet up (with two branches broken off).

He quickly realized it was an elk rub, and he later spotted a bull elk that may have been responsible for abusing the tree.

“Oh my God, the biggest bull I’ve ever seen in Idaho steps out,” Moody told the Idaho Fish and Game. “He’s got tips on the tail, and I was speechless. He was just incredible, something you dream about.”

Moody scored a Super Hunt Tag from the state (only 34 hunters score one of the prized tags a year).

He waited three weeks to to see if the elk would stay in the same area, and, as it just so happened, the massive elk showed up to the tree on the first day of the hunt. But the elk went into timber and disappeared.

But his disappointment didn’t last long though. Moody and his wife were in a perfect spot to scout elk on a daily basis, and let him be more selective.

“In general hunts, you see a bull, you put him on the ground,” Moody said. “This hunt gave me the opportunity to look at elk and judge them.”

Soon, a bull that Moody wanted was within sight. He didn’t count points, the hunter said. Just the pure size.

“It was just a fantastic hunt,” Moody said. “The number of big bulls was incredible.”

Moody told Fish and Game that he hasn’t scored his elk.

“To me, the points don’t matter, it was the experience,” he said.

The human factors contributing to extinction

Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:11AM

The world is getting warmer and climate change has already had a serious influence on habitat loss. Scientists believe that as many as one billion people could lose their homes by 2050 because of the devastating impact of global warming.

But it’s not just human beings who are affected by Climate Change. Plants and animals across the globe are already facing extinction.

In this Episode we will discuss how humans can contribute to this global epidemic.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/04/27/519647/extinction-habitat-loss-global-warming

A teenager on a Gambell whaling crew scored the village’s second successful strike of the season

Image may contain: text

Someone commented that they didn’t think whaling was even legal in today’s world. Unfortunately, for some it’s still legal and in places like Alaska and northern Canada it’s reported on as if it’s business as usual:

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/rural-alaska/2017/04/24/a-teenager-on-a-gambell-whaling-crew-scored-the-villages-second-successful-strike-of-the-season/

  • Author: Davis Hovey, KNOM
  • Updated: 2 days ago
  • Published 2 days ago
This 200-year-old female bowhead whale was caught off Gambell. Sixteen-year-old Chris Apassingok was credited with the strike. (Karen Trop / KNOM)

This 200-year-old female bowhead whale was caught off Gambell. Sixteen-year-old Chris Apassingok was credited with the strike. (Karen Trop / KNOM)

Families and community members on St. Lawrence Island are eating bowhead whale after a local hunter caught Gambell’s second whale of the season last week.

Chris Apassingok, a 16-year-old who would normally be spending his days in high school, was the “striker,” or hunter credited with catching the 57-foot-long female bowhead whale for the community.

Apassingok introduced himself by his Yupik name when recounting his successful hunt:

“My Yupik name is Agragiiq. The girls on top of the beach saw a whale, and they thought it was two of them, it was this bowhead whale. (We) went out and chased it for maybe an hour and a half; the other boats could have gotten it, but they never got close enough to strike. It came up right in front of us, and I struck it,” said Apassingok.

Apassingok’s mother expressed joy for her son, who, she says, was born to be a hunter.

“My name is Susan Aakapak (which means ‘big sister’ in our language) Apassingok. My son has been hunting since he was in diapers and drinking from the bottle, he’s been whaling. His life has been nothing but hunting,” Susan said.

The Alaska Eskimo Whaling commissioner for Gambell (and uncle to Chris, the striker) is Edmond Apassingok. He said the approximately 200-year-old whale was caught about 2 miles away from the village, but that further out there is significant open water around the island.

“In the past, we have pulled our boats on the ice and went through open water where there are whales, but now, we can’t do either. It’s either too thin or too thick to go through or on it. It’s changed,” Edmond said. “The winds move the ice more quickly, and it melts just as fast as soon as the wind picks up to 20 or 30 miles an hour.”

Edmond Apassingok believes ice conditions like these have made hunting for whale more challenging over the last five years or so.

According to the International Whaling Commission regulations, whalers in Gambell have six attempts or strikes for whales left in their catch limit, but Edmond Apassingok noted this whaling season is going by quickly, and the bowheads are already starting to migrate.

Six Paths to Near-term Human Extinction

https://guymcpherson.com/2016/01/six-paths-to-near-term-human-extinction/

Loss of habitat for human animals could result from at least six different factors rooted in civilization. Some are nearer than others. Half fall under the broad category of abrupt climate change. Two of the remaining three fall under the heading of ionizing radiation, hence lethal mutations.

I’m doubtless missing a few factors. In addition, I’m not mentioning the interactions between them, which surely will accelerate the process by which humans exit the planetary stage. But, as always, any number can play.

The usual initial response to the notion that Homo sapiens will become extinct is swift denial. As with every other species on the planet, lack of habitat will doom us, too. I welcome rational evidence to the contrary. In contrast, I expect irrational commentary free from the shackles of evidence (if not in this space, then certainly elsewhere). In general, denial-based commentary will exhibit ignorance of biology and ecology, despite the importance of these disciplines to understanding extinction.

If the following factors prove insufficient to convince you, I recommend visiting the nearest shopping mall. There, observe human behavior for an hour or two. If that’s not sufficiently convincing, you must have become part of the zombie hordes within industrial civilization. We have met the enemy, and … well, you know.

1. Abrupt climate change resulting from the loss of global dimming when civilization falls. I’ve spoken about this issue recently, and my presentations in the near future will continue to pound this drum.

2. Abrupt climate change resulting from firing the clathrate gun (item 1 on this list). I’ve written and spoken repeatedly about this topic.

3. Abrupt climate change resulting from moistening of the upper troposphere (item 39 on this list). As the planet warms, the most-abundant greenhouse gas becomes more abundant, thus further warming the planet.

4. Overt, rather than the ongoing covert version of World War leading to use of nuclear weapons. We can duck, but there’s no cover. So much for “duck and cover.”

5. Meltdown of the world’s nuclear power facilities. Fukushima was a harbinger. Many people, all of them more knowledgeable about the subject than me, believe Fukushima is an extinction-level event for our species.

6. Driving to extinction many other species. At some point, we become the species driven to extinction by industrial civilization. We will die without a living planet to sustain us.

https://guymcpherson.com/2016/01/six-paths-to-near-term-human-extinction/