You’ve probably heard the stat that extinction rates are currently somewhere between 100-1000 times historic levels, which is bad enough, but now the Guardian reports the head of the Species Survival Commission for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature says that we’ve "almost certainly" crossed the threshold where species aren’t evolving fast enough to keep up with increasing extinction rates.
In fact Simon Stuart went on the say that predictions made by biologist EO Wilson that the extinction rate could hit 10,000 times the background rate by 2030 are bearing out.
All the evidence is he’s right. Some people claim it already is that…things can only have deteriorated because of the drivers of the losses, such as habitat loss and climate change, are getting worse. But we haven’t measured extinction rates again since 2004 and because our current estimates contain a tenfold range there has to be a very big deterioration or improvement to pick up a change.
For those wondering what this background rate talk is about, the fossil record shows that historically there has been a steady rate of extinction of about one per million species every year.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.
It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.