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    • Richard

      I certainly don't claim that this is a good thing, but I do wonder why we are so disposed to assume that it's bad. Is there really any inherent virtue in there being more species rather than fewer? Why? What's the right number? I imagine an ecologist could explain to me why it would be bad if, say, mosquitoes disappeared, but I, for one, would be delighted. OTOH, I would hate to lose dolphins or penguins because they're so cute, but this seems like a frivolous reason. We owe it to ourselves to be more rigorous.

      There were five previous extinctions before the Anthropocene, the first caused by humans, but life found a way. If humans destroy themselves, chances are pretty good that life will continue without us, albeit without Facebook or Amazon. But hey, we're only one percent. We need to pay attention to the environmental havoc we are creating because our own survival is at stake. We need to recognize that at some point, our disruption of world ecology may well bring us to harm in ways that we don't currently understand. But I don't think that gross statistics are necessarily informative. The devil is in the details.

    • Richard

      Thanks for the link. We certainly should be paying attention to things we are doing that threaten our own survival. The last extinction, the Cretaceous–Paleogene, destroyed the dinosaurs, but that was what gave rise to the evolution of mammals, including humans. We have come to dominate the planet because of our intelligence, but it remains to be seen whether human intelligence has long-term evolutionary value. The jury is out.

    • on

      I like thinking about diversity as something that makes us stronger and more adaptable as a species. Not just biodiversity, but having lots of different kinds of people within the population. The more skills, talents, and perspectives we can bring to bear on our problems the better our chances of survival. But it's tough because not everyone gets the same chances to contribute to society because we overvalue some people and undervalue others. Just like we do with animals and crops. We've got some unfortunate patterns as a group. I don't know how it will turn out.

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