Re: “Dry, Drought, Devastated” Pankratz/ 9/17 Denver Post
When you realize humans kill 100 million sharks in the planet’s oceans annually, you scratch your head in dismay, or, at least, consternation. Unknown to most humans, thousands of species suffer extinction at the hands of humanity annually. (Source: Life, August , 1991, “Sharks: Predator becomes prey” Fussman)
When you read startling headlines in the Denver Post announcing devastating drought, you scratch your mind further as to why humans steam forward as if they cannot be touched by nature’s vengeance. What do we possess in our arrogance as to denial of our own vulnerability in the scheme of life?
At a Gamow lecture at Colorado University, Boulder, Colorado, I listened to a lecture by Oxford University professor Dr. Norman Meyers. He explained his personal research in the Amazon and other rain forests around the world that humans cause the extinction of 50 to 100 species every day of the year. I didn’t think much of it until, I too, visited the Amazon.
Humans burn 1.5 acres every second in the Amazon and worldwide to make way for crops in the shallow soils of the rain forests. What forms the foundation of the Amazon rain forests? Answer: sand dunes! Note that the Amazon rain forests took millennia to cover those dunes with minimum topsoil. Once exhausted, farmlands become wastelands.
As I explored the Amazon, I watched roads being built into its interior all the way to Manous on the Amazon River. I saw firsthand the fires and the relentless cutting of huge trees. Animals and plants lose their homes at a rate of a landmass the size of Colorado every year. No wonder Myers reported 100 species suffer extinction daily!
Back in the United States, famed Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson states, “We cannot save the planet if we don’t understand it.”
I might add that we cannot save our planet home if we fail to stabilize human population growth. But never mind, because in the end, Mother Nature WILL stabilize human population growth, rather brutally.