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Despite our global conservation strategy of creating substantial amounts of protected areas, the world is seeing an alarming drop of biodiversity according to scientists would maintain indexes on biodiversity, reports Tom Zeller Jr., of the Huffington Post, in his excellent article Biodiversity On Earth Plummets, Despite Growth in Protected Habitats.

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Over 100,000 so-called "protected areas" representing some 7 million square miles of land and nearly 1 million square miles of ocean have been established since the 1960's, noted the analysis, published Thursday in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.
And yet, according to a widely cited index used to track planetary biodiversity, the wealth of terrestrial and marine species has seen steady decline over roughly the same period, suggesting that simply protecting swaths of land and sea -- a common conservation strategy worldwide -- is inadequate for preventing the steady disappearance of earth's creatures.

"The problem is bigger than one we can realistically solve with protected areas -- even if they work under the best conditions," said Camilo Mora, an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and lead author of the study. "The protected area approach is expensive and requires a lot of political and human capital," "Our suggestion is that we should redirect some of those resources to deal with ultimate solutions."

The biodiversity of our ecosystem is a key measure of health and robustness. This precipitous drop should be like the canary in the coal mine. We need to determine what is causing this, and take whatever measures we can, to remedy these trends to the best of our ability -- or we will face drastic consequences.

With the human population of earth expected to surpass 7 billion by October of this year, we are getting alarming feedback from many different signals, that we are destroying the very ecosystem we need for survival. Yes, our population is still growing and is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.  

The steady loss of biodiversity -- defined roughly as the rich variety of living things -- can, in turn, have profound implications for human civilization, which relies on healthy, variegated ecosystems to provide a host of ecological services from water filtration and oxygen generation to food, medicine, clothing and fuel.

The precise value of such services is difficult to quantify, but one economic analysis estimated they were worth as much as $33 trillion globally.

So, the economic value of the entire ecosystem is worth $33 trillion?  This makes it just a bit less value than the entire wealth of the USA.  How absurd.  We cannot survive without this ecosystems, it is priceless.

And, we ought to be a lot more concerned than we are about. No mention of this study, between the 24/7 coverage of the debt-ceiling crisis, which will seem trivial to the possible end of mankind on earth. ... Just saying, but I digress.  Back to our story.

The authors of Thursday's analysis suggest that reversing biodiversity losses will require a vast rethinking of conservation strategy -- one that redirects limited resources toward more holistic solutions. This would include efforts to reduce human population growth -- and its attending consumption patterns -- as well as the deployment of technologies that would increase the productivity of agriculture and aquaculture to meet human needs.

Also needed, the authors wrote: a continued "restructuring of world views to bring them in line with a world of finite resources." Dr. Sale said, "In the final analysis, we have to recognize that we are pushing up against limits set by the way the biosphere functions. Biodiversity loss is one sign of this."

"In the final analysis, we have to recognize that we are pushing up against limits set by the way the biosphere functions."  This is the same message we heard long ago by Dennis Meadows, et. al. in Limits To Growth.  

Can we be the first species, so far, on planet earth to transcend our biology, and consciously, choose to limit our own population growth to stay within the carrying capacity of the ecosystem?  

While we've are making some progress, real questions remain unanswered, if we are, or even can make them fast enough to avoid, the biosphere enforcing the limits on us, against our will -- and with great tragic implications.

So, the odds, to not seem to be in our favor, and we seem to be running out of time, as many of the changes we need to make, are measured in increments of decades to half a century.

WWF/ZSL
Living Planet Index
The Living Planet Index (LPI),  is maintained by the ZSL Institute of Zoology at http://www.zsl.org/....

They explain how it is defined.

The Living Planet Index (LPI) is an indicator of the state of global biological diversity, based on trends in vertebrate populations of species from around the world.
The LPI is one of the indicators designated for immediate testing by the Convention on Biological Diversity as a means of measuring progress towards the 2010 target, specifically focusing on the headline indicator 'Trends in abundance and distribution of selected species'

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The work at ZSL is concerned with ensuring the most rigorous and robust methods are implemented for the measurement of population trends, expanding the coverage of the LPI to more broadly represent biodiversity, and disaggregating the index in meaningful ways (such as assessing the changes in different taxonomic groups, looking at species trends at a national or regional level and exploited or invasive species).
The Living Planet Database currently holds over 8000 population trends for more than 1,800 species of fish, amphibians, reptiles birds and mammals and data are continually being added from a variety of sources such as journals, online databases and government reports. Results are produce biennially in the WWF Living Planet Report and are used in publications such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the UNEP Global Biodiversity Outlook.

To calculate the LPI, generalised additive modelling is used to determine the underlying trends in each population time series. These rates are then aggregated to the species level and then each species trend is aggregated to produce an index for the terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems. The three system indices are weighted equally to produce the global LPI. The current LPI reveals a global decline of 27% between 1970 and 2005. The terrestrial index declined by 25%, freshwater by 29% (this index is calculated to 2003 due to the lack of data available for latter years), and marine by 28%.

This is sad news, indeed, Kossacks. We need a much stronger global response by all the citizens of the world, and our governments. Even more sadly, the US is lagging, and holding back these efforts more than leading them, in part, to the radical ideology of the extreme right-wing Republicans who object to any infringement of US autonomy they see implied by global cooperation on global issues.

What we are seeing is the environmental "footprint" of mankind bumping up against the global "carrying capacity" of the planet. From everything from CO2, and methane emission to our atmosphere, to pesticide, chemical, and other run-off from our farmlands, and industrial areas, to habitat destruction, to over-fishing of marine resources, we are on an unsustainable trajectory.

If we do not collective choose and enforce our own limits, based on reason, compromise, and human action, the system will do it for us, based on the sheer tragic savagery of nature.  

The choice may be ours.

Do we have what it takes as a species to make choices to improve the probability of our own survival?

Time will tell.

And, it looks like we may know in the next 100 to 200 years.

Originally posted to SciTech on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 12:45 PM PDT.

Also republished by The Amateur Left and Progressive Policy Zone.

Poll

Are you concerned by this article, and others, that suggest the human race may be damaging our ecosystem to the point that we may have a great tragedy?

93%44 votes
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| 47 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  I was about to diary this... (16+ / 0-)

      but I won't, and just jump your tip jar to point out that that same article implicates

      HUMAN POPULATION

      as the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

      Population. Kossacks can't even unite around this problem, convinced that some dream-future of energy efficiency is enough.  It's not.

      Even in an energy-efficient future, the dead species cannot be brought back.  Indonesia will be almost completely deforested, and the Philippines is already on track to being depleted entirely within my lifetime, going the way of Haiti.  What good does it do if we all have electric cars in a world where the tropical rainforests are gone? Do you think that already extent carbon's going to disappear? Brazil, Indonesia, Philippines... the world's great tropical forest are going away.  Canada's taiga forests are going away.

      Africa's forests? Gone.

      Unless you get rid of people, forests in the developed and developing world are going to be under too much pressure.  Forests provide food and income in myriad ways.

      The sea is under too much pressure.  Poor people need the Pacific for food and will continue to fish it.  

      I will pull out the lists of species I've studied if people can't absorb this.

      Since Daily Kos is doing a pissing contest now, here's my track record: replace Harman, (2006) dump Reid as ML, (2007) Edwards is a phony (07), replace David Wu, (2008) the 2009-2011 congress wouldn't act progressively without a strong platform (08).

      by Nulwee on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 01:04:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree Nulwee. (11+ / 0-)

        But, saying "unless you get rid of people," may scare some folks.

        The way I'd say is that unless we urgently, and quickly bring poplulation growth under control and make sure we consciously limit it to withing the carrying capacity of our ecosystem, the ecosystem will collapse and limit our popullation by famine, disease, or other savage mechanisms.

        I believe it is still theoretically possible to achieve a long-term sustainable "steady state" equalibrium and balance in a sustainable population-economic-environmental system, without dramatic "depopulation" scenarios, although this becomes more difficult with time.

        Unless, we act urgently, now to bring our population growth under control, the probabilty of mass death, perhaps, even extinction grows more likely.

        The good news is that due to the "demographic transition," North America, Europe, the fomer USSR states, much of south-east Asia, including China (although it wasn't natural there), have acheived, or will soon achieve zero, or negative population growth.

        If we can extend this transition into Latin America, Africa, and the rest of South-East Asia, it is conceivable that global population might level off at between 9 to 16 billion people.  

        It is expected to be 9 billion by 2050, I believe.

        However, controvesy extists, over what the ultimate carrying capacity of our plant it, given current technology, and behaviors.

        Some think the evidence suggest we have already exceded it.

        Another concern is what is called the "overshoot and collapse" theory. Supposed the earths long-term carrying capacity given our current technology, is 7 billion, but we exceed that by an additional 3 or 4 billion in the next 50 to 100 years.

        The consequence may not just be that the "excess 3 or 4" billion die off in mass catastrophies.  We may destroy the underlying ecosystems, by deforestation, erosion or topsoil, pollution, over-fishing of the oceans, such that the earth carrying capacity could drop down to a few billion or less.  

        Scenarios, such as this that involve 3 to 10 gigadeaths, are so gruesome, many react instictually to reject, them and accuse folks that present them even a "possible scenarios we hope to avoid as being alarmists, or even unethical.

        But, to the extenst that we careful base our discussion, on the underlying scientists, and maintain a scientific metholody, I beleive it may be unethical not to discuss these kinds of scenarios if this is part of what we have to do to create a wide-spread discusssion of it.

        Note, also, that if we do not have wide-spread democratic discussion of how to avoid such outcomes, we risk having political, economic, and technological elites making these decisions for us.

        Let's all talk about these things now, so we can achieve a "graceful transition," that involved the least morbidity as possible.

        We could still achieve a sustantable transition where everyone on earth, has a high quality of life.

        But, we need to redine our culture and definitin of quality of life so that it is not defined in terms of the quanity of consumption of non-renewable resources.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 01:24:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm talking about a 100-year plan (10+ / 0-)

          not tomorrow.  Population cannot reach 10 billion. It can't. But that's the UN's revised estimate, after previously expecting population to reach 9 billion in 2050 and begin falling.

          We can't go there. 2 billion more is already far too many. We have too many now.

          Since Daily Kos is doing a pissing contest now, here's my track record: replace Harman, (2006) dump Reid as ML, (2007) Edwards is a phony (07), replace David Wu, (2008) the 2009-2011 congress wouldn't act progressively without a strong platform (08).

          by Nulwee on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 01:54:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Demographic transition is not a cure-all. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          merrylib, HoundDog, blueoasis, asterkitty

          It won't happen in the Philippines, Nepal, Africa or Indonesia fast enough.

          Besides, Brazil's economic strength is strongly defined by natural resources, not an American-style economy.

          Virginia Abernathy actually has conducted research that shows that aid, for instance, will lead to increased population.  We don't have 2 centuries for the demographic transition to complete itself. As is, it's wholly unrealistic to expect Africa--whether the Sudan, the Horn of Africa, the Congo or the West--to go through a great transition in the next two decades.

          Since Daily Kos is doing a pissing contest now, here's my track record: replace Harman, (2006) dump Reid as ML, (2007) Edwards is a phony (07), replace David Wu, (2008) the 2009-2011 congress wouldn't act progressively without a strong platform (08).

          by Nulwee on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 02:00:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Seriously bad bad news. We really are in the (7+ / 0-)

    midst of another great extinction even.  We have caused it and we may well be on the list to go.

    •  I know. E.F. Schumaker wrote a thougtful piece (5+ / 0-)

      in the 1970, that from an existential point of view, the extention of the human race, might not be any sader than the extinction of the dinosaurs.

      Well, first, I think the extinction of the dinosaurs was sad too.

      I do not know if any of them were as intelligent as we are, but just didn't evolve tools, and technology, as far as we know, because they didn't need too.

      But, it seems sadder to do things we are intelligently aware may cause our own demise.

      Maybe, I'm just being sentimental.

      But, I feel this tremendous impulse to try to fight for our survival, but, trying to get folks to listen to these kinds of warnings.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 12:57:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ownership Isn't Going Extinct (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, Nulwee, blueoasis, asterkitty

        Mass die off of course, but there'll be enough habitable area for a million to half a billion humans in the aftermath.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 01:42:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Intelligent? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, enhydra lutris

        What makes you think we, us human beans, homo sap sap, are intelligent?  Our track record ain't too good and, from the looks of it, we may not be able to live out the century.

        Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

        by gmoke on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 01:49:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Beam me up Scottie, No intelligent life here!" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dewley notid, blueoasis

          Maybe I should have said "partially-conscous-beings"

          But, doesn't the possibility of our self-extinction cause you to have any "wistful" or regretful feelings gmoke?

          Come on be honest.

          I have yet to meet any crusty, old, cynics who were not once young zesty idealists, who had their hopes and dreams crushed out of them.

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 01:59:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Off and on, since quite a young age, I have (0+ / 0-)

            felt that the universe would be better off if we went extinct. Making things as good as possible, without hoping for the infection of other planets by our spawn, is not necessarily non-idealistic. I doubt that I am alone in this respect.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 04:52:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Feelings on Extinction (0+ / 0-)

            What I feel is anger at the stupidity that is bringing us to the edge of extinction already.  

            We're all gonna die.  If we've created that conditions that kill all of us together, so be it.  I've done my best to counter that insanity and it doesn't seem to be anywhere near enough.  Not gonna stop but I do not see how things will change enough to "generate spontaneous behaviors that will avoid extinction."

            My regrets are for the other species that we will kill along with ourselves.

            Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

            by gmoke on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:16:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Reduce population and it can level off. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewley notid, asterkitty

      Throwing up your hands is an excellent way to ensure the worst.

      Since Daily Kos is doing a pissing contest now, here's my track record: replace Harman, (2006) dump Reid as ML, (2007) Edwards is a phony (07), replace David Wu, (2008) the 2009-2011 congress wouldn't act progressively without a strong platform (08).

      by Nulwee on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 01:06:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As, long as we reduce population by conscious (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Louisiana 1976, asterkitty

        birth control and choice, I am with you Nulwee.

        I oppose enforced depopulation scenarios on living populations.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 01:27:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This will naturally occur... (5+ / 0-)

          if you give poor people the tools and cultural empowerment to control their own fertility. Specifically, women need to have the absolute right to control their own fertility and lives, worldwide, because our survival now depends on it. If they have the means and cultural context in which they can choose to be something other than baby factories, they will not choose to reproduce at such high rates. This is just a biological and economic fact: poor living conditions and a lack of women's rights cause people to reproduce at a higher rate, and good living conditions and equality for women leads to lower reproductive rates.

          It's now an existential imperative that we, as a species, leave behind antiquated attitudes about reproduction and the role of women. That's going to require a reform of world religions, among other things, and it's going to take time. The only question is whether we have enough time left to do it.

          •  Oversimplification. (0+ / 0-)

            Women's education is strongly correlated to lowering of fertility, but not enough for the kind of solution we're talking about here.

            While good living conditions may be correlated to lower fertility, that's not meaningful in a world where soaring poverty is the reality.  The Bush years brought about talk of aid and charity eliminating hunger in Africa, when in fact it is soaring again.  We can expect more food instability, more desertification, because climate change is affecting Africa bad. In other words, Africa will continue to remain poor, so examples of Spains and Japans seems not only pointless, but callous.

            Since Daily Kos is doing a pissing contest now, here's my track record: replace Harman, (2006) dump Reid as ML, (2007) Edwards is a phony (07), replace David Wu, (2008) the 2009-2011 congress wouldn't act progressively without a strong platform (08).

            by Nulwee on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 02:05:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree that poverty is the root cause. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dewley notid, blueoasis, asterkitty

              Antiquated religious and cultural ideas about women's role in society thrive in places where poverty is the worst. That's true even within the U.S., not just on a global scale. Solving the problem will require a complete economic transformation of the societies in which high fertility is still a huge problem.

              So, yes, I agree that it's an oversimplification to claim that that alone will solve the problem completely. But producing the societal conditions under which women's equality and empowerment can occur can go a long way towards the solution.

              •  Poverty is a root cause, but, there are causes (0+ / 0-)

                of poverty which may also may be claimed to be root causes.

                That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                by enhydra lutris on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 04:53:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Well, of course we're up against (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            johnva, Russgirl, asterkitty, HoundDog, Nulwee

            some religious institutions who forbid education about birth control and abortion.

            Rape, and the consequence of pregnancy, is endemic in some parts of the world.  

            We also have to deal with cultures which think of children as a form of family wealth.

            However, many industrialized countries are concerned because their reproduction rates are lower than the replacement rate.

            Many subsistence farmers in the 3rd world are burning forests for agricultural purposes to feed their large families.  Forest land is not very fertile and after a few years crops fail and more forest is burned for land.  What is the solution for the deforestation for agricultural purposes which also adds CO2 into the atmosphere from burning the trees?

            The fossil fuel industry writes the script for the AGW skeptics.  They have the money to get their dishonest message out and get government cooperation for their agenda.

            I applaud efforts to reverse some of these alarming trends, but I think it's too little too late and don't see much hope for saving the planet as we know it.

      •  No magic bullets! (4+ / 0-)

        Reducing the population is ONE PART IN AN OVERALL APPROACH.

        #2: Reduce animal products

        #3: Reduce artificial products

        #4: Reduce your CO2 footprint

        #5: Increase your creative activities at the expense of your gas-guzzling activities

        #6: Raise a diverse back yard, contribute to biodiversity on a personal level.

        I always go back to the part from the film Gandhi, where a Hindu say: "There is no hope for me, since I killed a man. A Muslim man," and Gandhi says: "You should adopt a Muslim orphan and raise him as a Muslim". We should be responsible for our misdeeds, but there is hope for us.

      •  its too late for this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog

        with our CO2 emissions, we've been mortgaging the future for far too long.  The bill is about to come due....which as a parent with three young kids scares the daylights out of me.  

        Seeing as I live in the NW, hopefully we can live on substinence farming.

        We are currently living through the greatest redistribution of wealth in our nation's history. The rich and the corporations are using their money and power to obtain even more money and power. We must fight back while there is still time.

        by Keep Oregon Blue on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 07:32:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  But, it doesn't have to end this way. I believe (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Louisiana 1976, Nulwee, dewley notid

      may be possible to human beings to wake up and smell the coffee, so to speak.

      And, change our behavior, in ways, that lead to a transition to a sustainable economy, culture, and potentially, even a high quality of life for everyone.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 01:25:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One thing that is key... (6+ / 0-)

        is that the solution needs to be global and all-encompassing. We can't leave ANYONE out, anywhere in the world, if we want to solve this problem. And that's going to be a fairly radical new idea for a lot of people to come to grips with: the fact that starving people in Africa or wherever are entitled to the same quality of life as people in the U.S. requires that we stop marginalizing them economically and culturally, and start treating them as equals who are in this thing together with us.

        I believe that the central problem facing the human race right now is how to permanently solve the problem of poverty worldwide without destroying the natural environment that supports us. We often lose focus on this idea, but it's really what unifies everything else that is going on.

  •  Scary but Great Diary... (7+ / 0-)

    Fear is the Mind Killer

    by boophus on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 01:00:12 PM PDT

  •  I saw this study (6+ / 0-)

    this morning through Above the Fold and couldn't bear to diary about it.  Thanks for doing so.

    It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach. Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by Ellinorianne on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 01:31:38 PM PDT

  •  something we can all do... Go Vegan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matching mole, HoundDog

    or at the least go vegetarian.   Meat/livestock production is responsible for much of the land and water depletion including deforestation and desertification which is responsible for much destruction of species.  'Really is a burger worth it?

    •  It would be better to not have children (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, cowgirl, Greyhound, asterkitty

      and to adopt, say, 5.

      Since Daily Kos is doing a pissing contest now, here's my track record: replace Harman, (2006) dump Reid as ML, (2007) Edwards is a phony (07), replace David Wu, (2008) the 2009-2011 congress wouldn't act progressively without a strong platform (08).

      by Nulwee on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 02:08:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This isn't really realistic, though. (4+ / 0-)

      Most people are not willing to give up eating animal products, and furthermore the consumption of increased amounts of animal products has always been associated with increased wealth in human society. That idea is so ingrained that it's not going to change anytime soon.

      Short of going vegan or vegetarian, we could all just eat less meat. If meat were expensive and priced so that it accounts for all the impacts its production creates, people would still eat it. They would just eat it less often, and in lesser quantities. I think that that is a more realistic thing to advocate for most of the population than going full vegetarian.

      Also, not all meat production is equally damaging to the environment or biodiversity. We should work to end the worst, most abusive practices so that what meat we do consume has a lesser impact.

      •  so you're saying people won't stop eating (0+ / 0-)

        meat in order to stop catastrophic damage to our planet and species?
        wow, we sure have our priorities mixed.

        •  Yes, I am saying that. (0+ / 0-)

          People will not stop eating meat because of a problem that they perceive as only vaguely connected to their individual actions. Eating meat is something that we naturally and culturally do, and so people will keep doing it no matter what.

          I disagree that the issue is as black and white as you make it out to be. The choice is not between eating meat and preventing catastrophic damage to our planet. Instead, we need to find ways to do things that humans will continue to do without doing catastrophic damage to the planet.

          •  i disagree, i think the way we have been doing (0+ / 0-)

            things is what is responsible for the current situation which is obviously unsustainable.   I think we have  to change our thinking and reduce our consumption of fossil fuels obviously as it is finite.   I do have my doubts that our species is up to the task.  There is no sustainable way to raise meat/livestock at current consumption and any remedies which include grass fed etc. well there is not enough land and water to do that either.

            •  I agree on "at current consumption". (0+ / 0-)

              You're 100% correct that we can't keep collectively consuming as much meat as we are and have it be environmentally sustainable. I personally do eat meat, but I've cut way back on the frequency. I eat ethically raised chicken about once a week, and beef or pork maybe once a month. I do recognize the consequences, so I've cut way back and eat a meat-lite diet. But I like meat, a lot, so I'm not going to give it up entirely just to be more pure, which is what it's really about for most vegetarians and especially vegans.

              I think meat should be raised in an ethical and sustainable way, and I think it should be considered a rare, special, expensive luxury. If every meat eater felt that way, we wouldn't have such a problem. So I'm right there with you on the absurdity of consuming beef every day or serving it in cheap fast food. But we have to come to an accomodation with human nature and culture, and most people won't give up all meat. And, of course, if we could get a grip on the human population problem, we wouldn't have such an issue with sustainability.

  •  Excellent diary (5+ / 0-)

    I hadn't heard of the LPI before.  You did a very good job laying out the basic details.  It seems like a very good metric to look at human impact on vertebrate diversity but not necessarily global biodiversity, given that vertebrates make up a tiny fraction (probably less than 1%) of all species on earth.  Definitely an important message that existing conservation measures are not adequate in the face of expanding human populations and environmental degradation.

    "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

    by matching mole on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 01:58:56 PM PDT

    •  Thanks matching mole. You have a good idea here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee, matching mole

      Maybe you should email the LPI folks, I think they have their contact numbers up.

      This was a difficult one to pair down to be withing Fair Use Guidelines.

      So much really good material was left on the cutting room floor.

      I had to keep reminding myself my job is to get out just enough info that folks who are more interested will go read the original source.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 02:03:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  unfortunately, this is not news, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, sberel

    since the early 80s I have been trying to inform others of the necessity to get involved locally to stop the destruction of our ecosystems....It was in Illinois that I helped stop developments that were bulldozing the fragile marshes that are the first step in our clean water supply....there are so many ways that people can and should get involved at the local level.....it is not just happening someplace else Dorothy....

    The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by Mindmover on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 03:04:20 PM PDT

  •  I checked "other", because, after all, it is (0+ / 0-)

    all according to god's great plan.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 04:56:35 PM PDT

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