SCIENTISTS WARN OF MASS EXTINCTIONS

There’s a new report, “State of the Oceans,” by 27 eminent scientists from 18 organizations in six nations, who met at the University of Oxford in April.  The report, released on June 20th, spells doom for us and the ocean if we refuse to change.

The report identifies three main signs of a planetary ecosystem in trouble: global warming, ocean acidification and anoxia – lack of oxygen.  These grave symptoms have been precursors to each of the five mass extinctions that have occurred over the past few billion years.  The scientists are particularly alarmed by the rapid rate of measurable change we are now seeing.

Overfishing and pollution are also mentioned as stressors on all ocean life.

As most people know, we’ve killed 90% of the large predatory big game fish – marlin, tuna, sharks, spearfish etc.  The ultimate solution for unregulated fisheries management by humans around the globe has often been – “keep fishin’ till they’re gone.”

Around 30% of precious tropical coral reefs, the earth’s incredibly rich, beautiful and bio-diverse zones, have died in the last 15 years from periods of extra warm sea temps.

But according to Bryan Walsh of Time magazine:  “We can try to restrict fishing, and we can work to protect sensitive coral reefs and other habitats for marine life. But if we can’t figure out a way to curb global carbon emissions, we may alter the oceans beyond their ability to heal themselves — at least in ways that will support marine life as we know it.”

See the following article & links for more information on the report:

Ocean Life Facing Mass Extinction

By Daniel Politi  from  SLATE.com

The oceans are in far worse state than previously thought, according to a prestigious group of scientists. Of course, doom-and-gloom environmental stories are so common they’re almost yawn-inducing. But this one is different, insists Time’s Bryan Walsh. The state of the oceans never gets the coverage it really deserves and a report issued by the International Program on the State of the Ocean reveals things more dire for the marine world than previously thought.

Sure, there’s overfishing, and global warming has created dead zones in the oceans. But the truth is far more frightening as we are “at high risk for entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history,” notes the report written by a global panel of experts.

In what is the report’s most stark and shocking suggestion, scientists say that the unprecedented loss of species could be directly comparable to the five great mass extinctions of prehistory. Indeed, the panel of 27 scientists say that a “combination of stressors is creating the conditions associated with every previous major extinction of species in Earth’s history.”

Also shocking is how the scientists detail that the speed and rate at which the oceans are degenerating is much faster than anyone had previously predicted, notes the Independent. In fact, the scientists say that the first steps of a mass extinction may have already begun and some entire marine ecosystems may vanish within a generation.

Overfishing is certainly one of the problems, but it’s the easiest for governments to reverse. Meanwhile, the “deadly trio” of global warming, ocean acidification and lack of water oxygen, which led to most, if not all, the five “global mass extinctions” in history are also present in the ocean today, notes CNN.

In its report, the panel concluded that “a new extinction event was inevitable if the current trajectory of damage continues.”

***

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.