The End Of The World As We Know It

I try to be an optimist, but it’s hard when watching this interview of E. O. Wilson on the Bill Moyers Journal (Wilson being one of the most accomplished and honored American scientists and authors alive today). Some choice quotes from the interview:

BILL MOYERS: Why… should we care if the woodpecker goes? I mean, we’ve lost—how many species have we lost? We don’t know how many species we’ve lost in the millennium.

E.O. WILSON: No. But– how many species going extinct or becoming very rare do you think it takes before you see something happening? … And more than that– we lose the services of these species.

BILL MOYERS: The services of these species.

E.O. WILSON: Yes services of these species to us. Like pollination and water purification…

BILL MOYERS: That we get free from nature.

E.O. WILSON Yeah. Here’s an easy way to remember it. We get from nature scot-free, so long as we don’t screw it up and destroy it– approximately the same amount of services as far as you can measure them in dollars as we ourselves produce each year. It was about $30 trillion a year. T. Trillion.

E.O. WILSON: If we do not abate the various changes we’re causing– climate, habitat destruction– the– continuing pollution of major– river system– systems and so on we will, by the end of the century, lose or have right at the brink of extinction– about half the species of plants and animals– in the world, certainly on the land.

BILL MOYERS: I’m sitting here trying to believe– is this distinguished man, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, author of 25 books, telling me that he conceives of the obliteration of nature?

E.O. WILSON Yes.

BILL MOYERS: The end of nature. The end of– what do you mean by–

E.O. WILSON I mean the end of– a large part of the rest of life on– the planet.

Well, there you have it. We’re all going to die. Thanks, Dr. Wilson!

–YY

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