Snuff It #1
Biodiversity reduction is accelerating today largely through the destruction
of natural habitats. Because of the latitudinal diversity gradient, the greatest
loss occurs in tropical moist forests (rain forests) and coral reefs. The rate
of loss of rain forests, down to approximately 55% of their original cover, was
in 1989 almost double that in 1979. Roughly 1.8% of the remaining forests are
disappearing per year.
If current rates of clearing are continued, one-quarter or more of the species
of organisms on Earth will be eliminated within 50 years--and even that pessimistic
estimate might be conservative. Moreover, for the first time in geologic history,
plants are being extinguished in large numbers.
Since the overwhelming majority (possibly more than 90%) of species now exists
on land, the 40% human appropriation there alone shows why there is an extinction
crisis. Furthermore, the human population is projected to double in the next
half-century or so--to more than 10 billion people. Most ominous of all, the
widely admired Brundtland Report speaks of a five- to tenfold increase in global
economic activity needed during that period to meet the demands and aspirations
of that exploding population.
The loss of biodiversity should be of concern to everyone. Because Homo
Sapiens is the dominant species on Earth, we and many others think that
people have an absolute responsibility to protect what are our only known living
companions in the universe.
-Excerpted from an article called "Biodiversity Studies: Science and
Policy" by Harvard zoologists Paul R. Erlich and Edward O. Wilson.
"Without firing a shot, we will kill one-fifth of all species of life
on this planet in the next 20 years."
-Russell E. Train, World Wildlife Fund
"I viddied what I had to do... and that was to do myself in, to snuff it."
-A Clockwork Orange
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