Living creatures, if nothing else, have the right to life. It is their only truly precious possession, and the stealing of life is a wicked theft. ~ Jack Vance, Mazirian the Magician
I started college in the 80’s and became a biology major in 1984. My inclination was toward the field of Ecology and I would end up getting a Masters Degree in Applied Ecology and studying for a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology that unfortunately I didn’t finish. But this meant that I spent 10 years studying Ecology, I also worked for three years doing sustainable development work primarily in the field of fisheries and aquaculture.
Even in the 80s scientists were warning that we were dangerously over fishing and polluting our oceans. At that time scientists were also just starting to really push the warnings out on global climate change. Over the last 40 years we have seen fisheries crash, others rebound with careful management. But the damage and warnings have not been limited to the oceans. We have seen massive deforestation globally and several studies have shown us just how much we’ve lost.
Recently we’ve gotten the following new warnings about the devastation that’s occurring.
This week the Alaskan snow crab harvesting season was canceled. Over the last two years the population has dropped by 90%, which means that 1,000,000,000 snow crabs are missing from Alaska’s waters. That’s not a typo, that’s 1 billion missing snow crabs. Fishers did not capture and sell 1 billion crabs than no one noticed. The only logical reason is that the warming waters around Alaska have either decimated the population, or the crabs have migrated to cooler waters, but considering snow crab temperature requirements, there aren’t a lot of cooler waters available.
This week we learned in a report that Earth’s wildlife populations have plunged by an average of 69% in just under 50 years, according to a leading scientific assessment, as humans continue to clear forests, consume beyond the limits of the planet and pollute on an industrial scale.
To put these impacts into perspective, the difference in the number of birds on the North American continent in 2020 is nearly 3 billion less than in 1970. That means in my lifetime alone, on ONE continent we’ve lost 3 billion animals at a minimum.
The fact is, while most people don’t think about the importance of insects the likelihood is that we’ve lost far more insects. By some estimates, we’ve driven 250 – 500,000 species to extinction in the industrial era.
The earth is screaming at us that we’re destroying our environment, it’s showing us the damage in incredibly stark ways, are we listening?