Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Latest Fear is the Sixth Mass Extinction Event #Science #Biology

The planet is undergoing what scientists call a "mass extinction," mostly due to human activity, unlike the other major wipeouts that have occurred over the past half-billion years

Phys.org:  Earth's major 'mass extinction' events

PO helpfully documents the major extinction events of the past but there is no Sixth Mass Extinction Event listed.  However, it does set the stage for a hoopla carnival elsewhere.

The Guardian gives us a dead baby elephant to boost their point.  (The Guardian:  World on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020, major report warns)

A victim of poachers in Kenya: elephants are among the species most impacted by humans, the WWF report found. 

Photograph: imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

Always keeping it classy at The Guardian.

The headline has quite a bit of Fear Factor but it's not a mass extinction in this one.  Killing off the major animals due to poaching, sport hunting, and habitat encroachment is more a case of wanton murder than anything else.

This Sixth Mass Extinction buzzes about and do believe it's buzzing since the hysteria popped up all at once.  They talk blithely in some articles about wiping out the creatures of the Earth but, in fact, we hardly even know what any of them are.  (National Geographic:  86 Percent of Earth's Species Still Unknown?)

There's no denial in the Rockhouse of the tremendous loss of wildlife but getting hysterical about it isn't likely to solve anything.  We follow this type of material quite a bit and most of the loss we see is due to poor animal husbandry.

To get a mass extinction, you need a really huge volcano and typically more than one of them.  There are some claiming there's a tipping point beyond which we will not be able to get back here but that assumes we haven't already passed such a construct and that we could ever get back here anyway.  It's not clear where they got the idea Earth thinks in those terms since there's no evidence of it; change is constant.

There's no denial of the effect of climate change on the Earth and on animals living on it but extremist responses to that aren't helpful.  There are obvious things which mustn't happen such as pouring any more filth from coal plants into the atmosphere so maybe it would be better to get cracking on that rather than hypothesizing about the end of the world.  If their logic is true then it's specifically lethargy which will bring it.

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