Our planet is currently experiencing its sixth mass extinction. Over the past 450 million years the planet has experienced five previous mass extinctions. Each of which destroyed or extinguished between 70% and 95% of all plants, animals and micro-organisms. While these five previous extinctions were moreover the result of volcanization, the current extinction crisis is human caused. According to the UN's Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (or the IPBES), the five main causes of the current mass extinction are, in descending order, man-made changes in land and sea use; man's direct exploitation of animals and plants; man-made or anthropocentric global warming, i.e., the climate catastrophe, and man-made pollution. It should go without saying policy makers cannot coherently address human health without simultaneously recognizing or accounting for the state of the biosphere. Nevertheless, federal policy makers refuse to discuss the ongoing extinction of life on earth. For example, the House Select Climate Crisis Committee recently released report (I've cited in a previous post) fails to make any mention of the ongoing mass extinction or the loss of biodiversty nor did the committee discuss the issue during any of its hearings this Congressional session.
During this 25 minute conversation, Professor Paul Ehrlich discusses moreover findings he and his colleagues make known in their two recent PNAS articles, findings by the UN's IPBES, e.g., half or more of all wildlife has disappeared from the planet over the past 50 years due in part to human caused reductions in geographic range, the relationship between the climate catastrophe and the extinction crisis, the decline in genetic variation moreover in foodstuffs, ever-increasing desperate efforts by the scientific community to bring this issue to the public's attention and comments on national policy makers perverse and tragic indifference to human-caused biological annihilation on the planet.
Paul R. Ehrlich is President of the Center for Conservation Biology (CCB) and Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University. He is also co-founded the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior (MAHB) with his wife, Anne (policy coordinator of the CCB) and Professor Donald Kennedy. He is also Co-founder with Peter H. Raven of the field of co-evolution. Professor Ehrlich is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Ehrlich has received several honorary degrees, the John Muir Award of the Sierra Club, the Gold Medal Award of the World Wildlife Fund International, a MacArthur Prize Fellowship, the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (given in lieu of a Nobel Prize in areas where the Nobel is not given), in 1993 the Volvo Environmental Prize, in 1994 the United Nations' Sasakawa Environment Prize, in 1995 the Heinz Award for the Environment, in 1998 the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and the Dr. A. H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences, in 1999 the Blue Planet Prize, in 2001 the Eminent Ecologist Award of the Ecological Society of America and the Distinguished Scientist Award of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and in 2009 the Margalef Prize in Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Professor Ehlich earned his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.
Professor Ehrlich's June 2020 Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences article titled, "Vertebrates on the Brink as Indicators of Biological Annihilation and the Sixth Mass Extinction," is at: https://www.pnas.org/content/117/24/13596.
His related PNAS July 2017 article titled, "Biological Annihilation Via the Ongoing Sixth Mass Extinction Signaled by Vertebrate Population Losses and Declines" is at: https://www.pnas.org/content/114/30/E6089.
The UN's IPBES 2019 report, "Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services," is at: https://ipbes.net/global-assessment.
The November 2019 letter by over 11,000 scientists published in BioScience warning of the climate emergency is at: https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/70/1/8/5610806.