WHAT SHALL WE TELL THE CHILDREN
It is becoming increasingly clear that conservationists are losing the battle to save the biodiversity of planet earth, and we are not just losing it in bits we are losing it wholesale.
When in a years time, 5 years time or 10 years time your child sees a photo of a puffin, an albatross, a Cheetah, a Golden Tree Frog, a butterfly, a Polar Bear, a Tiger, a parrot, a shark, a Tree Sparrow, a Koala Bear, a Redwood, a huge rain forest, a coral reef and says he/she would like to see one, how will you reply if these things are no longer to be found (except perhaps some species in zoos). Will you tell them they can’t see these things anymore and that its you and your generations fault?
“Well you see, son/daughter you can’t see these things now.” “Why not, can’t we see them on holiday?” “The thing is they just don’t exist anymore, or are so rare you would never see one, but maybe we can see a lion or Cheetah in the zoo? Would you like that?” “can’t we see them in Africa hunting wildebeest?” “Well the truth is there aren’t that many wildebeest left either, and most of the savannah is planted with GM crops, its not like the films you’ve been watching anymore.” “But why what happened to make them all disappear, there were so many.”
Then we can go on to explain to the young ones how our generation grew so fast and our greed got out of control. Millions of people starved and national parks and other protected areas were finally sacrificed in a last ditch effort to feed the exponentially growing population. This was made possible because genetically modified food plants (GM) could now be grown just about anywhere and there was little opposition left from conservationists because the GM crops had already so contaminated organic crops and wildlife there was no way of saving the pure original species. That there still wasn’t enough food as deserts expanded and floods and freak weather increased due to climate change and rich countries instead of sharing their food stockpiled it. Global climate change had wiped out the coral reefs accelerating the already terminal drop in fish stocks. How species that tried to adjust to climate change, if they could, by moving to higher latitudes or altitudes either found the changes too fast or were, unlike in the geological climate changes of the past, hemmed in by humanity. Tropical forests were cleared to lay claims to sovereignty and boreal forests for bio fuels. Fresh water in many areas became scarce and caused wars.
Yes this sounds like fiction, but in the links I have provided below you will see all these thing are already happening. National parks are being sacrificed to bio-fuels, tropical forests are cleared and populated to claim de facto sovereignty and boreal forests are pulped to make bio-fuels. Coral reefs may not exist at all as intact ecosystems within our lifetimes. GM food plants are already doing irrevocable harm in contaminating wildlife and organic crops (and the GM companies have sued organic farmers for unlicensed use of their genetic material!!) A tenth of all birds are threatened with extinction already and 1 in 3 primates face extinction. Birds and monkeys/apes are some of our best-loved creatures and yet we cannot even save these! What about amphibians which are already experiencing a global mass extinction. Or closer to home (Britain) the declines of farmyard birds and butterflies. We are one of the richest countries in the world and we cannot save the few species we have.
So what are the major issues. Some people site global climate change as the major problem, but if they do they are missing the point somewhat. If there were less people, a lot less people, there would be no climate change problem. The biggest problem by far then is the number and increasing growth of the human population. Do nothing about this and all other conservation efforts will be in vain, solve it and everything else will become far easier.
There are already more people alive today than there have been people living in the whole of the rest of history by a factor of 4 or 5 times. At present growth rates the human population is set to nearly double from the present 6,500,000,000 to 10,000,000,000 by 2050. Every day there are 200,000 more mouths to feed. Even given a new planet to inhabit tomorrow the population on earth would still increase unless we removed more than 200,000 people to the new colonies a day!
Birding Site Guide
We cannot opt out of the problem, none of us can claim no guilt. The solutions undoubtedly lie in wise application of technology but more importantly the will lies within everyone of us.
WHAT ARE THE TECHNOLOGICAL OPTIONS?
Well for a start look at these pages on BSG Facts of the World’s Most Useful Plant