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A Sixth Extinction—fair warning or fake news?


A new National Academy of Sciences study concludes the planet is facing a real threat of “biological annihilation.” The scientists who carried out the research call the decimation of the world’s large mam- mals a “global epidemic” and say the rate of decline is accelerating.
Up to 50 percent of all individual ani- mals have been lost in recent decades. Two-fifths of the 177 mammal species sur- veyed lost more than 80 percent of their range or geographic distribution between 1900 and 2016.
The release of this study coincides with news that the world’s population has reached an all-time high of 7.6 billion. In Asia, the world’s most populous continent, three-fourths of the mammal species sur- veyed have lost 80 percent of their range in the last century or so.
The fact that animal and human popu- lations are moving in opposite directions is unsettling but not surprising.
Scientists mainly attribute the decline in wildlife numbers to overpopulation and overconsumption. True, but it’s also a function of public policy and political cul- ture—in other words, leadership and citi-
zenship. Despite accelerating
global extinction rates dur- ing the last century, many of the thousands of species losing population are still not given any special legal protections.

The National Academy of Sciences warns that, “The resulting biological anni- hilation will have serious ecological, economic and social consequences” and pre- dicts that “Humanity will eventually pay a very high price” for failing to act now.
Often overlooked in scientific studies decrying the decline in biodiversity are the business- and tax-revenue implications of wildlife for many local and regional economies. Spend a week in Yellowstone Park like 4.2 million visitors did in 2016 and it’s highly likely you will get to see grizzly bears as well as geysers. Take the wildlife out of the equation and watch what happens to the cash flow from eco- tourism.
Amid reports of gloom and doom for the world’s wildlife there are some bright spots. North America’s black bear populations, for example, are on the rebound east of the Mississippi where bears were long ago hunted to extinction. According to National Geographic, “An estimated 800,000 black bears roam the continent,
slowly returning to many of their old haunts.”
Colorado is a different story, however. A recent article in The Denver Post warns, “Colorado’s bear population could decline if current trends and practices continue” and cites a disturbing fact close to home: …(A)round Durango, where researchers studied 617 bears starting in 2011, the female bear population decreased by 60 percent.”
Nobody knows how many black bears roam the Colorado Rockies, but Colorado Parks and Wildlife estimates the number to be around 17,000. Based largely on the number of bear-human conflicts, Colorado officials saw fit to issue 17,000 bear hunt- ing licenses in 2014!
According to CPW, there were more than 1,200 bear-human conflicts in 2015
and incidence of such conflicts is climbing at a rate of 4 percent a year. The numbers will keep rising because there are more humans, more people living and vacation- ing in Colorado, every year—not because there are more bears.
According to current projections, the state’s 5.54 million human population will grow to 10 million in the coming years. That will inevitably mean more human- bear conflicts and—unless things change— very, very bad news for bears.
But perhaps all this hand-ringing is just another example of all the fake news we are getting from the liberal media? Perhaps it’s true that many of the world’s top scientists are in league with dishonest journalists and newspaper editors and, of course, college professors who want noth- ing more than to deceive the public into believing—what, exactly?
• That the population explosion is a myth?
• That a global population of 7.6 billion in 2017 doesn’t present problems for the planet’s wildlife and other finite resources?

• That biodiversity is not under threat? • That wildlife is not a valuable resource?

• That protecting nature is a partisan political issue?

• That humans aren’t part of the problem?

• That seeking solutions is a hopeless pursuit?

Our corner of Colorado is a microcosm of a world that
faces what is arguably the biggest challenge in human history, a challenge of a kind and magnitude that did not exist and could not be imagined in1817, when humans numbered a “mere” one billion, or in 1917 when the “war to end wars” claimed the lives of an estimated 40 million people, followed by the worst pandemic (the “Spanish Flu”) in recorded history.
We’ve had a century to think about what happens when people in power let pride and prejudice get in the way of objective reasoning.
It’s fair warning, not fake news.

Tom Magstadt writes and cooks in the log cabin of his dreams. He lives on a mountain in Ouray County and fre- quents Colorado Boy almost enough to qualify as a regular. Visit Tom’s blog at

37 Comments on "A Sixth Extinction—fair warning or fake news?"

  1. Davy on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 7:08 am 

    More to the point in our little worlds this is about invasive species and species out of place in a changing climate paradigm. It is about fire, floods, and drought destroying natural landscapes. This natural disruption continues to worsen as humans maintain their linearity.

  2. Dredd on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 7:58 am 

    I studied the bias in the word “dirt” (earth) and I find that this post rings true.

    There is an alien view of our planet than renders us lost in space (You Are Here).

  3. Sissyfuss on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 9:50 am 

    I have lived in Colorado and the mountain scenery is spectacular beyond words. As far as hitting 10 million in population that will only happen if they build a pipeline to Lake Michigan. The Ogallala aquifer is drying up on the periphery working in towards the center and the Colorado river water is being divided up into ever smaller parcels to an ever increasing populace. The Southwest is smack dab in the bullseye of climate disruption and resource scarcity. I left years ago because I couldn’t bare what was happening to the environment there. Now recently retired and restless, I am pondering where to evacuate to that doesn’t replicate Colorados fate.

  4. Apneaman on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 12:58 pm 

    Dallas had never hit 90 degrees in November. It just did so three of the past four days.

  5. Apneaman on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 1:14 pm 

    Climate Change & Anthropocene Extinction 33: ‘Temperate biodiversity’ faces specific challenges

  6. Apneaman on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 1:16 pm 

    Parasite Lost: Did Our Taste for Seafood Just Cause an Extinction?

    The disappearance of a tiny oceanic parasite, researchers warn, indicates that overfishing has caused an ecosystem to fall out of balance.

    “A lot can change in five decades.

    In 1963 University of Aberdeen researcher Ken MacKenzie published a paper about a parasite called Stichocotyle nephropis living in the waters around Scotland.

    Last month he came full circle, publishing a new paper in the journal Fisheries Research describing the tiny flatworm’s possible extinction due to overfishing of its host species.

    “Stichocotyle was the subject of the first paper I ever published in 1963 and it is a sobering thought that it has probably disappeared in my lifetime,” he says. He adds that he regrets never photographing the species while he was working on it in the 1960s, although he did provide this drawing from an earlier paper:”

  7. Shortend on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 1:29 pm 

    I know all about it. Prince Willie told me so…after announcing his wife is expecting twins, adding to the his offspring already of two, which he claimed is putting pressure on wildlife. At least someone is connecting the dots!

  8. Apneaman on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 1:43 pm 

    Explore the Tree of Life

    “The Tree of Life Web Project (ToL) is a collaborative effort of biologists and nature enthusiasts from around the world. On more than 10,000 World Wide Web pages, the project provides information about biodiversity, the characteristics of different groups of organisms, and their evolutionary history (phylogeny).

    Each page contains information about a particular group, e.g., salamanders, segmented worms, phlox flowers, tyrannosaurs, euglenids, Heliconius butterflies, club fungi, or the vampire squid. ToL pages are linked one to another hierarchically, in the form of the evolutionary tree of life. Starting with the root of all Life on Earth and moving out along diverging branches to individual species, the structure of the ToL project thus illustrates the genetic connections between all living things.”

    For anyone interested.

  9. Apneaman on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 2:01 pm 

    For the humans to survive they need a handful of species to not go extinct, but thrive. Wheat, maize, rice, soy, dairy cattle & goats, etc.

    Temperature extremes: Effect on plant growth and development

    Interdependence of Living Things
    Outlines interactions between living things and how they are vital for species survival.

    We’ve been through climate changes before

    Humans have been through climate changes before- but mostly cold ones and mostly in our far distant past.

    “Previous major global climate changes were glacial cycles that happened long before human civilization developed.

    The human species evolved during the last 2.5 million years. Our far distant ancestors survived through multiple gradual cycles of cold ice ages, but did not experience any previous “hot ages.”

    We Homo sapiens in our current form appeared only about 200,000 years ago. So our species has survived two ice ages. In each ice age global temperatures were colder by 4 °C. The warmest period ever experienced by early humans was about 1 °C warmer (global average) than today. That period occured between the two most recent ice ages, 120,000 years ago (Eemian). Over the next 100,000 years temperatures gradually decreased into a new ice age. During that colder period humans began to expand out of Africa and across the globe. Ever since the Eemian much cooler temperatures have been the norm.”

    “There have been regional shifts in climate (Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age, etc), but since civilization began humans have never experienced a hotter global climate than now. “

  10. makati1 on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 7:05 pm 

    Mother Nature is bringing out here “big” guns in microscopic form.

    “Tuberculosis Outbreak Of A Multi -Drug-Resistant Strain In Minnesota Is Hard To Fight”

    ALL of the old diseases are coming back to finish their work and humans have made their job easier by mutating them into more powerful diseases. The human arsenal is becoming obsolete.

  11. Davy on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 7:08 pm 

    “Tuberculosis Outbreak Of A Multi -Drug-Resistant Strain In Minnesota Is Hard To Fight”

    Its been in Russia for years mad kat or didn’t you know that?

  12. DMyers on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 7:35 pm 

    No doubt, humans are crushing the planet. Such a wonderful tendency to multiply they have, these little bipeds. That which displaces leads to that which is displaced.

    We haven’t reached the end of Time, so the cycles of Time are continuing. We are approaching the end of an inter-glacial period, which will send us plummeting into frigid ages. That’s what I, for one, find most difficult to contemplate. A stretch of 80-90 thousand years of cold will perform its purpose of resetting the population parameters.

    It’s actually time for a mass extinction, in the scheme of things. Nature has it covered. Give it time. Homo Sapiens could be included.

  13. Apneaman on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 8:22 pm 

    Melting permafrost is leaving people’s homes on shaky ground

    One hospital in Alaska is even installing machines that keep the ground refrigerated.

    Stay frosty, planty. The earth wants to eat you.

  14. GregT on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 9:13 pm 

    “Its been in Russia for years mad kat or didn’t you know that?”

    That has absolutely nothing to do with the link that Makati1 provided.

    My wife recently diagnosed TB in Vancouver BC. Also irrelevant.

  15. Sissyfuss on Tue, 7th Nov 2017 11:26 pm 

    Dmired, according to Live Science the expected glacial period has been canceled, mainly due to the raising of CO2 concentrations 120 PPM. That would suggest that one invests in good quality AC and not thermal long johns.

  16. Davy on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 4:30 am 

    “That has absolutely nothing to do with the link that Makati1 provided.”
    AAh, what planet are you on widdle? Mad kat is acting as if this is something new but it is not. This problem is in Russia and has been for years. Instead you are giving cover for an anti-American extremist mad kat to say this is uniquely an American problem. Typical extremist rhetoric and double standards from you and mad kat. Widdle g, you are going to find supporting mad kat’s agenda is going to suck you into it, yet, you are part of his anti-American agenda. You are just like the money men behind agenda. You quietly let mad kat barf the goods and then you flank him. You then can do your stalking and pricking of all the Americans you dislike.

  17. Theedrich on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 4:40 am 

    What?  Me worry?  Import more muds!  It’s the PC and Christian thing to do.  And anyway, no one cares about animals.  Or about the future of the White race that the elites want to annihilate.  It’s the economy and “compassion” (for big international companies demanding slave labor) that matter.  Anyway, the only ones who care about the future are a few Nazis.

  18. Apneaman on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 11:12 am 

    Great white Cancer

    Canada’s dirty secret

    Canada leads the developed world in per capita production of garbage. What’s behind our nation’s wasteful ways?

  19. Sissyfuss on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 6:40 pm 

    Wow Ape-man. Never thought anyone could out refuse the US of A. I’m bummed, can’t wave my recycled giant foam finger in the air yelling “we’re number one, we’re number one.”

  20. Apneaman on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 6:42 pm 

    Sis, we all widdle tumors in the Mega-Cancer.

  21. GregT on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 9:52 pm 

    How, in your sick and delusional little mind, do you equate this:

    “My wife recently diagnosed TB in Vancouver BC.”

    With this:

    “Instead you are giving cover for an anti-American extremist mad kat to say this is uniquely an American problem.”

    You are one screwed up individual delusionalist.

    Get help.

  22. makati1 on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 9:59 pm 

    Greg, Davy’s frustration and hate makes him deaf and blind to reality outside Davy World. I posted the article to point out the loss of effectiveness of antibiotics as a defense against disease.

    He likely never read the article, just attacked me as the messenger. I ignore his insanity and delusions and don’t read his posts anymore, just as he can stop reading my posts that start with “Makati1” … if he can.

  23. Apneaman on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 10:06 pm 

    Europe storms: at least six dead as winds and flooding create chaos

    Trains suspended in parts of northern Germany as storm knocks out power for thousands of Czechs and Poles

    ” The “Glory Amsterdam,” a 225-metre long freighter ran aground on the German island of Langeoog, and authorities were keeping a close watch for any signs of oil leaks. The ship’s crew of 22 were safe, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

    The freighter was not carrying any cargo, but had 1,800 tonnes of heavy oil and 140 tonnes of marine diesel on board as fuel, it quoted local authorities as saying.”

    “Hamburg saw widespread flooding in the inner city area, including the area around the new Elbphilharmonie symphony hall.”

    “The winds also hit Poland, damaging a pipeline at Poland’s liquefied natural gas terminal in the port of Swinoujscie.”

    Runaway AGW does it’s work while the world is spellbound by Trump tweets and mass consuming.

  24. Apneaman on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 10:42 pm 

    Melting Glaciers Are Wreaking Havoc on Earth’s Crust

    Sea levels are dropping, earthquakes and volcanoes are waking up, and even the earth’s axis is moving—all because of melting ice

    ” At the current estimated rate of one-tenth of an inch each year, sea level rise could cause large swaths of cities like New York, Galveston and Norfolk to disappear underwater in the next 20 years. But a new study out in the Journal of Geophysical Research shows that in places like Juneau, Alaska, the opposite is happening: sea levels are dropping about half an inch every year.

    How could this be? The answer lies in a phenomenon of melting glaciers and seesawing weight across the earth called “glacial isostatic adjustment.” You may not know it, but the Last Ice Age is still quietly transforming the Earth’s surface and affecting everything from the length of our days to the topography of our countries.”

    Read more

    I know the humans are really not in control of their behaviour (but we need to pretend or else society will fall apart), but it still feels surreal to watch most of them go about their lives as if there are not massive forces about to smash the shit out of them. I imagine that some who are paying attention and getting it are feeling rather overwhelmed.

  25. Apneaman on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 10:54 pm 

    Coralgal reef morphology records punctuated sea-level rise during the last deglaciation


    Coralgal reefs preserve the signatures of sea-level fluctuations over Earth’s history, in particular since the Last Glacial Maximum 20,000 years ago, and are used in this study to indicate that punctuated sea-level rise events are more common than previously observed during the last deglaciation. Recognizing the nature of past sea-level rises (i.e., gradual or stepwise) during deglaciation is critical for informing models that predict future vertical behavior of global oceans. Here we present high-resolution bathymetric and seismic sonar data sets of 10 morphologically similar drowned reefs that grew during the last deglaciation and spread 120 km apart along the south Texas shelf edge. Herein, six commonly observed terrace levels are interpreted to be generated by several punctuated sea-level rise events forcing the reefs to shrink and backstep through time. These systematic and common terraces are interpreted to record punctuated sea-level rise events over timescales of decades to centuries during the last deglaciation, previously recognized only during the late Holocene.”

    “The documentation of decades to century-scale punctuated sea-level rise events with magnitudes of a few meters implies that deglaciation and associated sea-level rise is a non-steady process.”

  26. Apneaman on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 11:00 pm 

    Highly informative 2 minute primer.

    Will climate change cause earthquakes?

    “Bill McGuire, author of ‘Waking the Giant: How a changing climate triggers earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes’, discusses the topics raised in his book.”

  27. makati1 on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 11:11 pm 

    AP, I mentioned the rising and falling plates a while back. Thanks for the ref. It supports my assertion that melting glaciers will change more than sea levels.

  28. Apneaman on Thu, 9th Nov 2017 12:45 am 

    Ok everyone, lets all take a deep breath and think this overpopulation deal through.

    Delhi residents panic as ‘deadly smog’ returns

    “Panic has gripped the Indian capital, Delhi, as residents woke up to a blanket of thick grey smog on Tuesday.

    Visibility is poor as pollution levels reached 30 times the World Health Organization’s recommended limit in some areas.”

    In spite of the fact the west suffered these brutal industrial lessons, these people repeated them. It was plain as fucking day what not to do, but did they copy any of the remedies the west developed after more than a century of killing and sickening industrial practices? No. They went for it pedal to the metal. I’m not a raciest, just pointing out that all human groups are giant tumors in the Megacancer and consume to the best of their capabilities. Some just got there earlier than others.

  29. makati1 on Thu, 9th Nov 2017 2:12 am 

    Ap, the West got rid of some of the smog by shipping it to Asia, not any “remedies” in the homeland. Bring the industry back and the smog will come with it. All the remaining companies in the US have done is learned how to hide it better by dumping its waste into the rivers and lakes of America. I can still drive by a plastic plant, near a mall in PA, that smells the sweet smell of plastic esters. Filtering the visible particles out of the smokestacks does not get rid of smog. Those chemicals are invisible. And, for the most part, have no odor. But, they are there.

    “‘Very unhealthy’ smog levels expected during heat wave, SoCal regulators warns”

    “Worst Smog in Years Hits Southern California”

    “The 25 most dangerously polluted cities in the US”

    America is not clean.

  30. Davy on Thu, 9th Nov 2017 4:17 am 

    “Ap, the West got rid of some of the smog by shipping it to Asia, not any “remedies” in the homeland.”
    So mad kat, did they box it up and ship it back? How stupid are Asian’s to except it? They could have retuned the package and address unknown….what a loon. Mad kat, you are ridiculous with how hard you try to be prejudice. You have zero objectivity and balance. You are the reason this board is an extremist magnet.

  31. Apneaman on Thu, 9th Nov 2017 1:59 pm 

    Mak, below are 3 examples of pollution remedies I have personally built/installed and done maintenance on as part of the jurisdiction of my trade. There are thousands of other examples of pollution controls invented and implemented in the West. Few are cheap and none are free and the choice is up to each country. As we can all see, Trump & his Cancer crew are gutting much of these remedies/protection in the US. The consequences will show up shortly.

    Your incessant black & white proclamations are tiring and infantile. I see no black and no white; just a thousand shades of gray.

    Electrostatic precipitator

    “An electrostatic precipitator (ESP) is a filtration device that removes fine particles, like dust and smoke, from a flowing gas using the force of an induced electrostatic charge minimally impeding the flow of gases through the unit.”


    “Scrubber systems (aka Chemical Scrubbers, Gas Scrubbers) are a diverse group of air pollution control devices that can be used to remove some particulates and/or gases from industrial exhaust streams.”

    Cyclone separator

    “Cyclone separators or simply cyclones are separation devices that use the principle of inertia to remove particulate matter from flue gases.[2] Cyclone separators are part of a group of air pollution control devices known as precleaners as they are generally used to roughly remove larger pieces of particulate matter. This prevents more fine filtration methods from having to deal with large, more abrasive particles later one. As well, several cyclone separators can operate in parallel, and when this is set up the system is known as a multicyclone.”

    The Air Is “Too Clean,” According to a Very Wise EPA Official

    “But where Honeycutt really gets wound up is on the topic of air pollution.

    For more than a decade, Texas has been in a tussle with the EPA over limiting emissions of smog-causing pollutants from power plants. EPA’s limits on ozone, a component of smog, have grown more stringent with time, and as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s chief toxicologist, Honeycutt has attacked the basic underpinnings of limits on smog. Reducing ozone levels, he has said, will not lead to any significant health benefits and if asthma “were actually tied to ozone, you would expect to see the instances of asthma decreasing, not increasing.” Those arguments are contrary to the overwhelming scientific evidence that higher ozone levels exacerbate respiratory illnesses, particularly in children and the elderly.”

    This shit would be rejected by all editors of dystopian fiction as being too far fetched for any human to suspend their disbelief, yet there it is in the so called real world. Woe to the children with asthma.

  32. Apneaman on Thu, 9th Nov 2017 2:29 pm 

    Here Are 27 Ways Heat Waves Can Kill You
    Climate change is making heat waves worse.

  33. makati1 on Thu, 9th Nov 2017 5:57 pm 

    Ap, you proved my point.

    ““An electrostatic precipitator (ESP) is a filtration device that removes fine particles,…’
    “devices that can be used to remove some particulates and/or gases”
    “…devices that use the principle of inertia to remove particulate matter”

    None of these remove the smog gases, just the particles you can see. Like a vacuum cleaner.

    “China, the US, the European Union and India are the world’s largest emitters and between them account for 58 per cent of global carbon emissions and four-fifths of the growth in carbon output in 2013, the annual analysis said. Last year China’s emissions grew by 4.2 per cent, the US’s carbon output was up 2.9 per cent, India’s emissions grew 5.1 per cent…”

    CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita) 2014:

    The US: 16.5 tons
    Canada: 15.1 tons
    S.Korea 11.6 tons
    Japan: 9.5 tons
    China: 7.5 tons
    India: 1.7 tons
    Phils: 1.1 tons

    KSA: 19.5 tons
    UAE: 23.3 tons
    Qatar: 45.4 tons

    And, the numbers are rising.

  34. Davy on Thu, 9th Nov 2017 6:10 pm 

    CO2 emissions (kt) (2014)

    East Asia & Pacific 14,272,115
    Europe & Central Asia 6,245,992
    North America 5,792,049

  35. Apneaman on Thu, 9th Nov 2017 9:13 pm 

    Mak try breathing in the flue gas before it’s cleaned of the particulate if you think it doesn’t matter.

    “In 2013, a study involving 312,944 people in nine European countries revealed that there was no safe level of particulates and that for every increase of 10 μg/m3 in PM10, the lung cancer rate rose 22%. The smaller PM2.5 were particularly deadly, with a 36% increase in lung cancer per 10 μg/m3 as it can penetrate deeper into the lungs.[9]”

  36. makati1 on Fri, 10th Nov 2017 12:41 am 

    My point went right over your head? The particles are not the cause of smog. Smog kills. CO2 is the real killer that is changing the climate. A few cancer deaths from particles is not important. CO2 is.

    “Smog, a combination of the words smoke and fog, is a major pollutant of large, sunny cities. The chemicals in car exhaust, particularly nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons, are the primary components of smog. These pollutants combine with energy from the sun to form ozone as well as various nitrates and acids, most of which are biological irritants. Ozone is an important component of Earth’s atmosphere, providing a barrier against harmful ultraviolet radiation. However, ground-level ozone causes an assortment of health problems for people. These can be as mild as wheezing and eye irritation or as serious as pneumonia, heart attack and lung cancer. Children, the elderly and individuals with existing respiratory problems are especially at risk.

    The type of smog most common in this century is the photochemical smog that results from pollution and sunlight. However, other factors also cause smog or smog-like substances. Coal fires cause smog, and there are reports of this from as early as the Middle Ages. The famous pea-soup fog of London is a result of coal. The sulphur dioxide that results from a volcanic eruption creates a thick, smog-like cloud, or vog.”

  37. Davy on Fri, 10th Nov 2017 5:01 am 

    “The particles are not the cause of smog. Smog kills. CO2 is the real killer that is changing the climate. A few cancer deaths from particles is not important. CO2 is.”
    BS, mad kat, you fail miserably when you try to be an academic because you let your subjective emotional anti-American/Westerns get in the way. You are an intellectual fraud. CO2 is not a killer dumbass. Smog is the localized killer. Just because CO2 will warm the earth does not mean it kills. People can adapt to heat by moving and they can breathe high CO2 in a cool location.

    “My point went right over your head?”
    Way over your head mad kat.

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