OPINION: Don’t panic over mass extinction – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – May 11, 2019)


Watch out. There’s another apocalypse looming. This time it’s the plants and animals. Our destructive habits, along with global warming, are laying waste to the Earth. According to the experts, we are on the brink of a mass extinction – one that could wipe out a million species.

Is there any silver lining to this story? Maybe. Human beings might be wiped out‚ too, and that, in many people’s view, would be a good thing. One of the top-rated comments for The New York Times’ mass-extinction story was: “… [T]he earth is shaking off the parasite that is man.”

The extinction story was one of the top news stories of the week. That’s because predictions about species in decline and the fragility of nature are extremely popular these days. In fact, a lot of people think we are in the midst of the Sixth Great Extinction. Only this one won’t be caused by an asteroid, but by man.

How worried should we be? If history is any guide, the answer is not so much. Back in 1980, then-U.S. president Jimmy Carter released a report called Global 2000, which drew the same kind of headlines that this week’s 1,500-page United Nations report has.

“If present trends continue,” the authors warned, “the world in 2000 will be more crowded … and more vulnerable to disruption than the world we live in now. Serious stresses involving population, resources, and environment are clearly visible ahead.

For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-dont-panic-over-mass-extinction/

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