Woah, we’re halfway there.Bon Jovi
Okay. The quote looks very different typed out then what I hear in my head when I read it. It turns out that that my good friend Bon Jovi is right in a couple of ways. First, I am almost exactly halfway through throught The Sixth Extinction. I have been reading it for some time but only got around to creating this site now. My thoughts so far? Amazingly written but utterly terrifying in content. Each page I flip I become more and more aware of the meaning of the words ‘crisis’ or ’emergency’ or ‘apocalypse’. Not kidding. I’ve got my work cut out for me. Choosing a career in conservation can be likened to choosing to empty the ocean with a teaspoon: seemingly futile. Which leads me back to Bon Jovi: we are definitely living on a prayer.
So far I’ve read about frogs vanishing in our rainforests. Why? Because with today’s global economy, a fungus that many amphibians should never have been exposed to can travel around the world, effortlessly. I’ve read about historical views on evolution, on extinction, on catastrophe. Frightening is the fact that at one point in time, a mere 170 or so years ago, scientists were in denial of all three of those things, and now the muzzle is pressed against our forehead, and yet often we pretend it isn’t there. Also equally unsettling is that, in another 170 years, students like me (God willing humanity still exists) might read in a different New York Times bestseller that there was a time when climate change, or the adverse effects of greenhouse emissions, or the utter disappearance of biodiversity were similarly denied by many with whom we share this planet today. It all seems eerily similar. More about the scientists of the past and their standpoints can be found under the Historical Figures link above.
I’ve read about a prolific penguin-like bird, the Great Auk, whose existence on this planet was single-handedly ended by the introduction of mankind to their habitat. We found any and every excuse to kill the bird, whether practical or not. Need I go on? Each chapter of this book is subtitled with one creature of note, of present or past. Each one can be found under the Important Critters link above.
As this is my first of likely not many reflections, let me leave off on a positive note. The problem we face is daunting, yes, and the solution, if at all possible, will be far from easy, but that does not mean that we shouldn’t try. Just like any good sports team would do, we must acknowledge the strengths of our opponent, but then step up to the challenge. I’ll let JFK finish it off.
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”President John F. Kennedy