Climate Change Devastating Biodiversity

Australia bushfireA new study predicts devastating impacts upon biodiversity from climate change [more]. A doubling in atmospheric carbon dioxide is expected to drive tens of thousands of species to extinction in species rich biodiversity hotspots. Another recent study finds that plants cannot appreciably slow down climate change [more]. It is becoming readily apparent that climate change threatens the biological foundation of life and is so dramatic that measures such as tree planting are an inadequate response. There is no substitute for energy conservation and efficiency, renewable energy and dramatic cuts in emissions.

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6 Responses

  1. Glenn D says:

    Modern man has become to much for the planet to handle. Either we change or the planet will change us, that's a fact. Past civilization's did just fine. Our 200 year reign decimated this planet. Yet people are still walking around in the fog. It's unreal. We can't go on the way we are going. Other wise their will be nothing to go on to. Why is this so hard to understand, it's mind boggling.

  2. John Gilmartin says:

    Gaia over the ages has removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to adjust the temperature for earth's biodiverse life forms.We humans have appeared in the blink of an eyelid in geological time and dug up and drilled the carbon ,used its energy,and put it back into the atmosphere at such a rate and quantity that Gaia will take hundreds of thousands of years to restore her balance,so favourable to biodiversity.
    A quote from the book: “The Sacred Balance” by David Susuki from the chapter “Protected by our kin” Our kin being all other species and life sharing this planet with us.
    James Lovelock began his career in medical research.In his quest to find ways to detect molecules in minute quantities, he developed an instrument so sensitive it could detect parts per trillion.Using the machine, he discovered CFCs in the atmosphere above Antarctica ,thereby leading to the discovery that the ozone layer was being depleted.
    In the early 1960s he was asked for advice in the design of the Surveyor spacecraft that was to explore the moon.Soon after,NASA asked Lovelock to design experiments for the Viking spacecraft that would search for life on Mars.Ruminating on the problem, Lovelock had to think about life itself, what is it and what distinguishes it from nonlife. He realised that Mars and Venus have atmospheres composed almost totally of carbon dioxide, with no free oxygen. In contrast, Earth's atmosphere has small amounts of carbon dioxide and is 21 per cent oxygen.Although oxygen is a highly reactive element and tends to be removed from the atmosphere, plants continually release more oxygen to compensate for this loss.
    What is remarkable is that the level of oxygen has remained relatively constant over a long period of time.A small increase to perhaps 25 or 30 per cent oxygen could cause the atmosphere to burst into flames, while a decrease to 10 per cent would probably be lethal to most life-forms. Something has kept the amount of oxygen at just the right concentration for millions of years.
    Lovelock reasoned that the oceans became salty by the leaching of minute quantities of salt from rock and soil into rivers and streams that flow to the sea. Why,then,haven't the oceans become saltier and saltier?Similarly,why haven't rising levels of carbon dioxide increased the temperature on Earth?On Venus, the carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere has turned the planet into an oven. In contrast, the thin atmosphere of Mars ,which is low in carbon dioxide ,cannot retain heat,and so the planet is frigid. Yet here on Earth the oceans haven't boiled away ,even though the sun's intensity has increased by 25 per cent since the sun was formed. Something has kept the temperature of Earth and the salt concentration in the oceans relatively constant.
    Lovelock's daring conclusion was that the total of all living things on Earth has somehow kept the concentration of carbon dioxide and oxygen,the amount of salt in the ocean and the surface temperature constant-not consciously or deliberately, but as part of an automatic process, just as our bodies increase our heart rate when we exercise or repair wounds when we are hurt.But now,technology has allowed us to generate massive quantities of greenhouse gases far faster than Gaia's capacity to remove them.Eventually,compensatory changes may reduce carbon dioxide levels ,but not before tremendous ecological changes occur.Gaia's persistence plays no favourites on which species survive or disappear.
    I'm sympathetic to the rogue species Homo-Sapiens I protest Gaia has done us no favours :before the Industrial Era lives were cut short by didease ,famine and hardship.Man wanted to better his prospects of life and happiness and discovered wood,coal and oil and married to his intelligence ,creating machines, transformed his situation materially out of sight!
    But too clever says Gaia she can't wear it sorry guys you've stepped out of line I am a finite system and cannot manage you!

  3. Darkstream says:

    Nice Blog you have here.
    It's a scary topic – but we're all going to have to face it eventually.

  4. Protecting the Nature you are protecting yourself too!

  5. John Gilmartin says:

    Planet Earth,Gaia,how might one intimate it is alive from Space? The atmosphere is transparent enough to see the continents' land and also to see the cloud moisture in the atmosphere swirling through that atmosphere, If the atmosphere were too dense for normal range life you could not see through it:it would be like swirling dense smoke ,Jupiter and Venus. If the atmosphere is too thin then no apparent sign of it as in Mars: no clouds and limited light refracting atmosphere?But planet Earth fits neither of these paradigms.
    A quote from “The Ages of GAIA” author James Lovelock.This a quote from the beginning of the book:
    by LEWIS THOMAS, from his book: “The Lives of a Cell”
    -Viewed from the distance of the Moon,the astonishing thing about the Earth,catching the breath, is that it is alive. The photographs show the dry, pounded surface of the Moon in the foreground, dead as an old bone. Aloft, floating free beneath the moist, gleaming membrane of bright blue sky, is the rising Earth, the only exuberant thing in this part of the cosmos.If you could look long enough ,you would see the swirling of the great drifts of white cloud, covering and uncovering the half-hidden masses of land. If you had been looking a very long ,geologic time, you could have seen the continents themselves in motion, drifting apart on their crustal plates, held aloft by the fire beneath. It has the organized , self-contained look of a live creature,full of information,marvelously skilled in handling the Sun.-
    Gaia's ability to handle the Sun and keep the ambience of life just right for more life is severely upset by our presence and actions but will eventually return to normality :This Planet is bigger than us and will survive us by hundreds of millions of years! So we needn't worry about the planet we need to worry for ourselves.

  6. clm994 says:

    The biodiversity of an ecosystem depends on the number of different species of plants & animals that populate it, the number of members each of those species has, & the genetic content of those members. The more biodiversity an ecosystem has, the more stable & productive it is. Unfortunately, mass extinctions are happening now at unprecedented rates as the human population grows. We alter species' habitats through agriculture, deforestation, urbanization, & global warming. And once a species is extinct, it is gone forever.
    International programs are aiming to set aside natural sanctuaries called biosphere reserves. These are areas of terrestrial & coastal ecosystems that promote solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. For example, the only black rhinos & white rhinos that survive in Africa today are in heavily guarded districts. They are trying to slowly creep back up in number, but even the sanctuaries can't always protect them from poachers when their horns sell for $29,000 per kilogram.
    If biodiversity is preserved, not only would more animal species survive, but we would also have a potential cushion for all future food & pharmaceutical needs. Throughout human history, there are about 7000 plant species that have been gathered for food, but more than 30,000 plant species have edible parts. There are still thousands of undiscovered potential food resources to find & develop, but only if the species are identified, inventoried, & protected. If they go extinct, we obviously can't do that.
    Scientists are setting up biosphere reserves with 3 inter-connected functions in mind: conservation, development, & logistic support. To set up these reserves, the principles of island biogeography are used. Islands have spatial isolation, a relatively small number of species present, & can be easily assessed on the factors that may impact it, like civilization. So the biosphere reserves are surrounded by modified areas, called buffer & transitional zones, & artificial boundaries to make them more like islands. However, any change in temperature & precipitation patterns due to global warming could make these biosphere reserves end up outside their natural range. This, of course, would sort of defeat the whole purpose.
    Though we can never get back the species that have already gone extinct, hopefully we can keep working towards preserving the ones that we have left.

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