Connecting the dots on the unfolding 6th Great Extinction

Todays guest on  Nature Bats Last is evolutionary biologist Professor Guy McPherson former host of the show. This latest episode is embedded here, please bare with the brief opening audio hiccups!


Professor McPherson and I discussed the tragic die off of Little Blue Penguins on the coast line around my home on Rakino Island and the Noises Island Group “Penguin habitat destroyed, chicks wiped out by storms battering New Zealand coastline” Sadly it’s adults as well as chicks that are sucumbing! The marine ecosystem is collapsing on my coastline now, not long off in the future.
“In 2014, one of New Zealand’s most respected scientists, Alison MacDiarmid, commented that, “Rock lobster was the third most trophically important benthic invertebrate group in the region [Hauraki Gulf ] before human arrival. Rock lobster are now the least important”. “Backing her is another scientist, marine ecologist Tim Haggit. In 2016 Haggit said the numbers of crayfish are so low in the Gulf that they no longer contribute to the marine ecology. Crayfish are “functionally extinct”.
A link to the marine heatwave in Tasman Sea breaking records which we discussed is embedded here

Professor McPherson mentioned the danger of a sea ice free Arctic occuring at any time and I quoted President Niinisto of Finland speaking in  North Russia: ‘If We Lose the Arctic, We Lose the World’
Central to the discussion was the collapse of the global insect populations first covered on this blog in the November 2017 interview with Professor Paul Ehrlich.
Subsequently we have discovered that this aspect of the extinction event is also happening in Australia, France and no doubt world wide. Not only are we losing insects we are losing scientists to monitor the event: Fewer Scientists Are Studying Insects Here’s Why That’s So Dangerous
‘The sound of crickets could become a thing of the past’, imagine that?
Another important presentation from Professor Paul Ehrlich titled: The Present Mass Extinction: How do the Tropics Fit from which the quote about “Blizzards of moths” was derived.
“The 2016 version of WWF’s biennial Living Planet Report, published Thursday, found a 58 percent overall decline in vertebrate populations from 1970 to 2012, the latest year with available data. The nonprofit warned that if current trends continue, the world could lose more than two-thirds of wildlife by 2020.”
In case anyone thinks that the dominant culture has any intention to slow down the armageddon: “Within the next two years, more than 60 million acres of monarch habitat will be sprayed with an herbicide that’s extremely harmful to milkweed, the only food for monarch caterpillars, according to a new analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity.” Via Desdemona Despair

“Global energy-related carbon emissions rose to a historic high of 32.5 gigatons last year, after three years of being flat, due to higher energy demand and the slowing of energy efficiency improvements, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.”
So much for us taking capitalisms foot off the pedal! 16 of the world’s largest ships can produce as much lung-clogging sulphur pollution as all the world’s cars

Also mentioned via Kevin Lister the author of The Vortex of Violence and Why we are losing the war on climate change:
The UN Talanoa Diaolgue is the key initiative that came from COP21, which said that “ambition must be increased on climate change to limit temperature rises to 1.5degC,” and it is the attempt to garner ideas and ways forward to this end.”
“Our submission to this has just gone in; a summary of the key points in the 70 pages that make it up are:
Atmospheric CO2 is already at unsurvivable levels which will lead to sea level rises of up to 30m and catastrophic temperature rises, yet it is still increasing at a rate that is faster than exponential.There is an unspoken paradox with climate change; as climate change intensifies then the increasing competitive rivalries between nations that it causes prevents the co-operation needed to agree to the mutual sacrifices needed for a zero carbon economy.The coal reefs started dying and the Arctic polar ice cap started melting in 1980 when CO2 was 336ppm, thus the world then was already well on the way to disaster. So, planning for a 1.50C temperature rise is a suicide note; this target needs to be replaced with a new target, which is that the maximum temperate rises should not exceed 0.5OC over the pre-industrial baseline. ANY temperature rise will lead to catastrophic heating due to the interacting nature of the amplifying effects such as methane, sea ice melt and increased water vapour content, so if the temperature increases to 1.50C (which is where we most likely are today) it will lead to unstoppable temperature increases. It also means that even the more radical 0.50C target that we propose could be too high.”
“NO measurable levels of CO2 have been sequestered by natural processes since the start of the industrial revolution and natural processes will take approximately 250,000 years to return the planet to an upper CO2 threshold of stability (approx 300ppm), and even at this level of CO2, then sea levels would be at least 10 meters higher than today. So even the emergence of a zero-carbon economy tomorrow would not help due to the persistence of legacy CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans.”
“There is a very high level of hysteresis (irreversibility) in the climate system caused by ocean heat content and ice albedo loss, but in particular due to the logarithmic relationship between CO2 and radiative forcing. The implications of this have been completely ignored by policy makers.”
“Proposed methods for CO2 removal from the atmosphere that the COP temperature projections are based on, such as BECCS and DAC are so fundamentally flawed, they are likely to add more CO2 to the atmosphere than they will take out.”
“The only way of removing CO2 is through bio enhancement, such as increasing carbon content in soils and biomass in the oceans, but natural limits means this will most likely take thousands of years to remove sufficient CO2 for a return to stability.”
“To survive we must immediately start a solar radiation management program, and marine cloud brightening is probably the only option, in as much that it is scalable, controllable and sustainable over long periods. The scale of the cooling needed will increase at least exponentially with delay, and as we will soon be at the point where the climatic changes under way will be irreversible then there is a moral imperative to make an immediate start.”
“The techniques that we develop now for climate restoration (cooling and bio enabled CO2 sequestration) must be capable of continued operation by future societies that have become dysfunctional due to the pressures imposed on them by climate change.”

Here’s the link to the Deep Green Bush School where I will be speaking next month:

To explain the dire predicament we find ourselves in Robin Westenra has just published this article showing with data from Sam Caranas’ excellent Arctic News blog that we are now at 1.73 C above the true baseline

Professor McPherson was interviewed for an article in the New York Magazine titled “The Unhabitable Earth” This article went on to become the most read article ever published by the magazine. In a total breach of journalist ethics David Wallace Wells failed to credit Professor McPhersons input.

At NBL we acknowledge what is happening in our dying biosphere and we refuse to lie to the youth.We are sleep walking to extinction. The true severity of the crisis can only be understood when you “Connect the Dots” and also remember that we do not know the whole story and the unknowns can only make the situation worse than we know. We are staring at the ultimate Black Swan event, one like no other.
Many thanks to the callers who phoned in with interesting, emotional responses. Managing our grief going forward will be one of our greatest challenges.
We’re Sleepwalking Ino A Mass Extinction’ Say Scientists

I'm an anti-imperialist, environmental activist and blue ocean sailor, who is passionate about the earth and all it's inhabitants without favour. Brace for imminent impact as we bare witness to the non-linear unraveling of the biosphere and habitability disappearing for most if not all complex life on the only habitable planet we know of. To quote President Niinistö in North Russia: ‘If We Lose the Arctic, We Lose the World’. Folks we have lost the Arctic.

Posted in Abrupt Climate Change, Collapse, Near Term Human Extinction--NTHE, Podcasts
61 comments on “Connecting the dots on the unfolding 6th Great Extinction
  1. bill says:

    Earth’s sixth mass extinction event under way, scientists warn

    Researchers talk of ‘biological annihilation’ as study reveals billions of populations of animals have been lost in recent decades

    We’ll be following them when our habitat goes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bill says:

    We’re in the midst of abrupt, irreversible climate change. We’re in the midst of a mass extinction event. We are on the verge of losing habitat for most species on Earth, including humans.

    There is no transitioning beyond the dystopia under way, except to a worse version of dystopia. I’m interested in evidence, not fantasy. GM

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kevin Hester says:

    “Twenty years may not be long enough to detect changes in abundances of longer-lived species, like some mammals, but because of their short life spans, it’s a pretty long time for arthropods,” Koltz said. “Still, the fact that we can detect changes over 20 years in some of these animal groups at such a coarse taxonomic resolution is remarkable.”
    Another feedback loop unfolding in the Arctic with the bug population undergoing radical changes which will have consequences to date beyond our understanding.
    We continue to gamble without knowing what the real stakes are. All we can be certain of is that we will lose big time.


  4. Kevin Hester says:

    “Without hope, goes the truism, we will give up. And yet optimism about the future is wishful thinking, says Hillman. He believes that accepting that our civilisation is doomed could make humanity rather like an individual who recognises he is terminally ill. Such people rarely go on a disastrous binge; instead, they do all they can to prolong their lives.”
    Guilt tripping young people that they have to fix the unfixable is unconscienable. As long as the military industrial complex rages around the planet all the squirly light bulbs on the planet count for nought.
    Let’s not be the last generation of elder to lie to the youth.


  5. Kevin Hester says:

    “For decades, scientists have conducted research centered around the five major mass extinctions that have shaped the world we live in. The extinctions date back more than 450 million years with the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction to the deadliest extinction, the Late Permian extinction 250 million years ago that wiped out over 90 percent of species.

    Read more at:


  6. Kevin Hester says:

    The reality is that all complex life is on the extinction list. All this article proves is that it is getting harder and harder to cover up.


  7. Kevin Hester says:

    There is nothing ‘natural’ about an extinction event 1000 times the back ground rate.


  8. Kevin Hester says:

    One of the differences between the Triassic and this extinction event is the rapidity.


  9. Kevin Hester says:

    “He said he believes the situation is irreversible, and it is too late because the effects we have had on Earth since industrialization (a period now known to scientists unofficially as the Anthropocene) rivals any effects of ice ages or comet impacts.
    Professor Frank Fenner is confident that we have already past the point of no return so the rality now is that it could unfold pretty much any time.
    Once you get the speed wobbles and fail to apply the breaks or stop accelerating it’s inevitable that you crash with all the unknown and known consequences.
    The article is 8 yrs old,the situation is infinitely worse than when it was written.


  10. Kevin Hester says:

    Another excellent wide ranging interview from Guy connecting the dots on how a multitude of predicaments are converging in the perfect storm of chaos that is building in a non-linear fashion.
    Head to the “Coming Events” tab at Guy’s website to find the dates for his latest tour.
    I totally get why people can’t accept that things could fall apart as quickly as Guy and I believe they will but that’s the nature of an extremely complex system under sustained attack whose sensitivity has been grossly underestimated.


  11. Kevin Hester says:

    There is no analogue in the paleo climate history for how rapidly this extinction event is unfolding but it is widely acknowledged that it is well and truly underway. The fact that the dominant culture refuses to even accept that it is underway tells us that they are in either denial and or deceit.
    Irrespective if you believe Professor Guy McPherson or myself on how rapidly this event will unfold surely the planet should be formulating a “Marshall Plan” of action at least.
    No that isn’t happening and extinction is, don’t say you weren’t warned.


  12. Kevin Hester says:

    Another great Q & A after another presentation from the hardest working unemployed professor on the planet!


  13. Kevin Hester says:

    What will the collapse do to the ozone layer and the role it played in one of our previous extinction events;


  14. Kevin Hester says:

    All wild animals gone by 2026!!!


  15. Kevin Hester says:

    Another deep dive into the psychology of collapse and the 6th great extinction from the first person on the planet to connect the dots and conclude that we will soon follow the 150 to 200 species that we exterminate daily.


  16. Kevin Hester says:

    Plenty of hopium whilst having the extinction dialogue from one of the driving forces in Extinction Rebellion


  17. Kevin Hester says:

    “However, there is no consensus regarding the timeframe in which this climate catastrophe will cause human extinction. This lack of consensus is primarily due to the global elite controlling the public perception of this timeframe with frequent talk of ‘the end of the century’ designed to allow ongoing profit maximization through ‘business as usual’ for as long as possible. Why has this happened?”

    “When evidence of the climate catastrophe (including the pivotal role of burning fossil fuels) became incontrovertible, which meant that the fossil fuel industry’s long-standing efforts to prevent action on the climate catastrophe had finally ended, the industry shifted its focus to arguing that the timeframe, which it presented as ‘end of the century’, meant that we could defer action (and thus profit-maximization through business as usual could continue indefinitely). Consequently, like the tobacco, sugar and junk food industries, the fossil fuel industry has employed a range of tactics to deflect attention from their primary responsibility for a problem and to delay action on it.”


  18. Kevin Hester says:

    Just a little reminder. The vertebrates are always the first to become extinct in an extinction crisis.
    That old complexity thing again.


  19. Kevin Hester says:

    Forget Thom’s dateline.


  20. Kevin Hester says:

    All of the fundamentals of this previous extinction event are in play today. The primary difference is this time it’s happening at an order of magniture faster;


  21. Kevin Hester says:

    I believe this article is actually ‘hopeful’ with it’s timelines, it is collapsing now, I’ll be surprised if it last 5 yrs.


  22. Kevin Hester says:

    Wolfgang’s take on the 6th great extinction.


  23. Kevin Hester says:

    The article is 4 1/2 years old, in a time of mass extinction and non-linear climate disruption that is an eternity!


  24. Kevin Hester says:

    This week the EU think tank ESPAS (European Strategy and Policy Analysis System) released a report on future global trends. In it the authors warn of “at worst, the extinction of humankind altogether” (see page 8) if “temperatures increase further” 1.5 degrees C


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Kevin Hester

Kevin Hester is currently living on Rakino Island, a small island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand, monitoring the unravelling of the biosphere and volunteering at the Rakino Island Nursery is currently developing a proposal to create a marine reserve near by. The Island has no grid tied electricity or reticulated water.  I catch my own water from the roof and generate my electricity from the ample solar radiation on the island.

My Submission to the Ministry of the Environment
Kevin Hester, Dropping Anchor in an Exponential World
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