Saturday, March 12, 2011

Apocalypse Now? The Decline of Earth's Biodiversity and The Next Mass Extinction

I subscribe to the Cell Press daily newsletter It's a great way for me as a scientist to stay abreast of news in neuroscience, evolution, stem-cell research, cellular and molecular biology etc...and it keeps me preoccupied while waiting in line. Yesterday while I was at the bank I almost choked on my orange tic-tac when I read an article from "The American Journal of Botany" which stated:

"Earth's biodiversity- the number of microorganisms, plants, animals, their genes, and their eco-systems is declining at an alarming rate, even faster than the last mass extinction 65 million years ago. In fact two-thirds of the terrestrial species that exist today are estimated to be extinct by the end of this century!

Humans are an integral part of this extensive network of life. We depend of biodiversity for goods and services (and medicines); we impact biodiversity via rapidly expanding human population growth, consumption of resources and the spread of disease"

If you are not shocked by this please read it again...two-thirds of our biodiversity will be extinct by the end of this century?! The impact that this will have on us as a human species is almost incomprehensible...and yet I bet people will continue to bury their head in the sand thinking that it has nothing to do with them...nope only your children. If you don't make it to the turn of the century they most-likely will.

It has been long thought that humans and their activity are causing mass extinctions. Despite our increased efforts in conservation it has not been enough and we continue to see mass losses including oceanic biodiversity, amphibians, lizards, fish, the coveted rain-forest canopy (which has helped up to discover many different types of medicines) and many others. We have not even discovered all the species on earth (especially in the rain-forest) and two-thirds of them will be gone. The WHO stated the state of biodiversity continues to decline, according to most indicators, largely because the pressures on biodiversity continue to increase. There is no indication of a significant reduction in the rate of decline in biodiversity, nor of a significant reduction in pressures upon it.

These activities which are resulting in heavy loss in the animal and plant kingdoms also can result in human loss...for example over-foresting. In Bagladesh and India over-logging has caused the monsoon seasons to become even more deadly, and have also increased the deadliness of avalanches and mud-slides since these natural barriers may not even exist any longer in some areas where these natural disasters are prominent.

I have been thinking about the recent earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and wild-fires the world has been experiencing. Is it me, or does it seem as if these things are happening a little more frequently than before? Is the rapid change in environment and biodiversity causing these things to happen on a greater scale then before? Whether it is or not...its time to wake up! The world we live in is being destroyed right before our very eyes, and we are asleep to it. If we do not take action, out world will be in serious our life-time.

Do It!


  1. I think it is great that you point our awareness to this. Biodiversity, humanitys effect on climate, the consumption of fossil fuels and a potential for peak oil, all this may lead us down a very bleak path. Fortunately, our future is not set in stone - by raising awareness, and above all, being part of a positive change, in the small and the great, we may turn the tide.


  2. Cara Soror,

    its not just you. We do live in apocalyptic times. Look at 2010- earthquakes in Haiti and China, vulcan activities in Iceland, Flood in Pakistan etc etc. And now Japan. And Terror. And Financial Crisis.
    We are going through a collective Nigredo. And its speeding up, i can tell.
    I believe this is why many leaders of spiritual systems decided to deliver their highest mysteries to the public like never before....the knowledge has to be saved, and spread to as many people as possible.

    In L.V.X.,
    Frater L.e.N.e.

  3. p.s. we have something in common: i have studied comparative religious sciences also, before i joined the Golden Dawn in 2003.

  4. As a microbiologist in pharmaceutical research this concerns me particularly; so many of our greatest medical advancements have only come by mimicking nature... where will we go when there's no nature left to mimic?