My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.
Here’s a headline and news story that caught my attention – it was published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, which is not usaually a source of alarmist environmental doom. The story speaks for itself. The notion that so much life on earth might be wiped so that humans can do whatever we want surely puts us in the same category as locusts or a plague. Remember – extinction is forever.
One third of plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, a UN report is expected to conclude this week.
By Matthew Moore (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/matthew-moore/)
Published: 1:25PM BST 09 May 2010
The world’s biodiversity is threatened by the economic growth of countries like China, India and Brazil, the study
will say. While Western countries are increasingly aware of the need to protect endangered species, the developing
world’s appetite for raw materials is destroying vulnerable ecosystems, the report’s authors will warn.
Population growth, pollution and the spread of Western-style consumption are also blamed for hitting plant and
Species at risk include the fishing cat, as its wetland habitats in India, Pakistan and southeast Asia are converted
for agriculture. Maritime ecosystems are under particular threat, with the south Asian river dolphin among the
species whose numbers have plummeted due to damming and overfishing.
The latest report – the third edition of the UN’s Global Biodiversity Outlook – is based on data obtained from
studies in more than 120 countries across the world.
It builds on recent work for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which showed that 21 per
cent of all known mammals, 30 per cent of amphibians and 35 per cent of invertebrates are threatened with
Speaking in advance of the report, Ahmed Djoghlaf, who heads the Convention on Biological Diversity, said that
countries had failed to honour pledges to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss.
He said: “The magnitude of the damage [to ecosystems] is much bigger than previously thought. The rate of
extinction is currently running at 1,000 times the natural historical background rate of extinction.”
He added: “It’s a problem if we continue this unsustainable pattern of production and consumption. If the 9 billion
people predicted to be with us by 2050 were to have the same lifestyle as Americans, we would need five
© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2010