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Biodiversity Loss and the Doomsday Clock: An Invisible Disaster Almost No One is Talking About


Biodiversity Loss and the Doomsday Clock: An Invisible Disaster Almost No One is Talking About

Phil Torres

As of this month, the UN World Meteorological Organization, NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) all confirmed that 2015 was the warmest year on record by “a big margin,” beating the previous record set by 2014. In fact, fourteen of the hottest years on record have all occurred after 2000.


This video runs parallel with the article and the painful (albeit true) points that Mr. Torres makes. Caution, it, like Truth, is not for the faint-hearted:


Good summary of the decline in many critical ecosystems. One reason this is so dangerous is that it does not fit nicely into domestic politics. Although this decline has been well documented the public has little awareness about the extent of it or the implications. The environmental organizations do lobby to address these problems but it certainly is not near the top of priorities within the beltway. I am unaware of any candidate for president mentioning that the sixth great extinction appears to be underway. It seems too remote from everyday life. The only positive is that there are people working on the problem of habitat loss and other causes of species extinction. However, it seems doubtful whether their efforts will be sufficient without a greater amount of resources being devoted to the effort.


Lots of people see the disaster approaching. It isn't invisible but it is beyond the sphere of influence of most individuals. It is a species wide type of disaster. Our civilization is renowned for being competitive but not so much for selfless cooperation. If a dam bursts people will band together to raise a dike or collectively put out a fire etc. But this is a bigger big disaster and we don't know how to act together quick enough.

If America loses an opportunity to have a people's democracy return then so will the world lose an opportunity to work together in the future. If the worst happens and a climate change denier repubs gets elected, it will be a sad future for our once beautiful and bountiful planet.

Whether living in treeless concrete jungles and eating processed food substitutes like vat grown meats and industrial grade manufactured protein and such will be the future remains to be seen but we are part of the biological web and without it to sustain us, we will end up needing to become gmo people just like the foods we'll be forced to eat.

I wish I was kidding.


Thank you, Sue, that was a well spent 3/4 hour. Everyone could benefit from viewing it, and thinking...


Ahhh yes, there's always Soylent Green!


Excellent article.

"While the threat of nuclear weapons deserves serious attention from political leaders and academics, as the Bulletin correctly observes, it’s even more imperative that we focus on the broader “contextual problems” that could inflate the overall probability of wars and terrorism in the future. Climate change and biodiversity loss are both conflict multipliers of precisely this sort, and each is a contributing factor that’s exacerbating the other. If we fail to make these threats a top priority in 2016, the likelihood of nuclear weapons — or some other form of emerging technology, including biotechnology and artificial intelligence — being used in the future will only increase."

If the greater contextual problem is human overpopulation, then conflict multipliers like biodiversity loss, climate change, wars, terrorism, resource depletion, pandemics, natural catastrophes, dangerous emerging technologies and artificial intelligence would be nature's way of fixing the problem.

Conservatives want to leave things up to nature, which they ignorantly, contradictorily, or conveniently identify as "free market" monopolies. Liberals want to intervene in nature to prevent these conflict multipliers. But too many on either side don't recognize the greater contextual problem, overpopulation.


We do not need "more resources being devoted to the effort." We need a complete transformation of the economy from its current foundation of extraction, warfare and looting, to a new holistic, regenerative, ecological foundation.

You can go on until the end about what is "realistic," based on your assessment of present social and political "realities," but please re-read the article.

The problem is not that "not enough resources" are devoted to narrow efforts like slowing habitat loss. The problem is the fundamental nature of the present economy. The entire basis of economic activity (and of work and enterprise and "consumerism") must completely reorient toward holistic, regenerative, ecological economics.


When they took the coal here, down through the surface, they scattered and buried the topsoil, that miracle of life many years in the making. When the desolation that was wrought became impossible to ignore they were made to push the great mountains of earth back into gentle hills and valleys which were seeded with an approved mix of grasses, vetches, and wildflowers. You can say it grows, though lacking decent soil to grow in, it also lacks vigor. Few if any trees were planted. Many old mines were left unrepaired.

About 12yrs or so ago I happened to be looking for information about re-forestation of surface mines in this region. It so happened that on that very day a signing ceremony was being held for a re-forestation initiative by a coalition of coal-producing states: Pa, WVa, Va, Md, Oh, Ky. It was reported that Ohio did not send a representative to the ceremony and in fact, the Republican-controlled State legislature on that very same day voted to eliminate the excise tax on coal earmarked for the repair of abandoned mine lands.


I think habitat loss and consumption are closely connected. That certainly indicates there is too much consumption. Another problem is that a lot of the loss of species is occurring in developing countries and they lack the ability to stop illegal activity. For example, poachers are threatening the survival of a number of species and governments seem to lack the resources to stop the poachers. All of the reasons add up to the situation described in the article.


The First Nations peoples warned us of these consequences were our so called Civilization to follow the model of the extractive economy.

Their prophets spoke of dire consequences and the loss of balance which would lead to chaos and strife should the Earth be dug up for its wealth and life be commodified for profits sake.

In the 1960's there was the beginning of an awakening amongst our own Culture among our youth of the time . This was ruthlessly crushed and ridiculed by the establishment.

There are still those voices out there. Many millions upon millions of them, but they fight to be heard in a "money is free speech" world of trillions of dollars.


If we seize the day while yet it dawns then much of the last of the best can be preserved for future generations. That is our best case scenario and if Bernie gets elected we just might have a chance to unite with the rest of the planet (species) and save our asses from the worst case scenario.

If the species (us ... with the possible exception of some ex-inlaws whose fauna classification is questionable) doesn't choose wisely come this election and we dilly dally about climate change and stall, delay, detour and divert our efforts to save the planet and end up precipitating catastrophe... I can only hope it wouldn't end up as horrific as in Soylent Green.

That said, it would be hot, there would be massive problems feeding people but hopefully ...

Okay fine if Bernie doesn't get in, please remember that despite looking tasty that I am certain that I have an off flavor and would cause severe indigestion. I prefer to go through life under the rubric >>> Inedible and proud of it!

You know mini if repubs get in and things go from bad to >>> wtf crazy worse than we ever really thought was possible fast and the oceans die then that scenario of the algae dying in Soylent Green could ...

... I'll be the one wearing the placard that says >>> The end ain't over on one side and on the back it would say >>> Eat the Republicans first. It was mostly their fault anyway.


From the article, "As the Bulletin put it, 'the fight against climate change has barely begun, and it is unclear that the nations of the world are ready to make the many hard choices that will be necessary to stabilize the climate and avert possible environmental disasters.'" - Based on the way the republican-controlled US Congress, right-wing Supreme Court majority, and many Americans act, I think it is patently clear that the US is certainly not ready to make any hard choices at all in order to avert the oncoming climate meltdown disaster. Scientists really need to use more forceful and straightforward language when talking or writing about this issue.


Derrick Jensen from What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire


An ecologically sound lifestyle would largely involve the end of personal possessions given the lack of enough resources for everyone to have their own personal array of consumer goods or even necessary tools and other things. I'm not making a judgement but merely pointing out how difficult it will be to get from the present me oriented society to this more selfless one. Personally, I suspect that this type of lifestyle will only arise when it is forced upon the present society either purposely via dictatorship or by a crash in the carrying capacity and so forth.


Well i guess we just reached the talking about it stage? Maybe...
When for will come DOING something about it stage?


Yea, i think most would just as soon the Earth perish before giving up stuff...


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LOL! Good un!


There is no doing something about it stage. We talk about it, hit reset, forget everything, forget to mention it to the next generation, rediscover it, talk about it again, and then hit reset and forget about it again. Repeat until it's over.