Professor Paul Ehrlich: “The Annihilation of Nature”.

In this months episode of Nature Bats Last on PRN.FM podcast, I was honoured to re-interview Professor Paul Ehrlich on his book “The Annihilation of Nature”,the show is embedded here:
“The numbers are sobering: Over all, there has been a human-driven decline in the populations of all species by 25% over the past 500 years, but not all groups have suffered equally. Up to a third of all species of vertebrates are now considered threatened, as are 45% of most species of invertebrates. Among the vertebrates, amphibians are getting clobbered, with 41% of species in trouble, compared to just 17% of birds—at least so far. The various orders of insects suffer differently too: 35% of Lepidopteran species are in decline (goodbye butterflies), which sounds bad enough, but it’s nothing compared to the similar struggles of nearly 100% of Orthoptera species (crickets, grasshoppers and katydids, look your last).“The Sixth Great Extinction is Underway and We’re to Blame;

 The Annihilation of Nature

Johns Hopkins University Press, The Annihilation of Nature

Published on Apr 23, 2015  

“In this beautiful book, three of today’s most distinguished conservationists tell the stories of the birds and mammals we have lost and those that are now on the road to extinction. These tragic tales, coupled with eighty-three color photographs from the world’s leading nature photographers, display the beauty and biodiversity that humans are squandering.”
For a slide show of the wonderful photo’s and illustrations in this book click on the following link;The Annihilation of Nature

“The oft-repeated claim that Earth’s biota is entering a sixth “mass extinction” depends on clearly demonstrating that current extinction rates are far above the “background” rates prevailing between the five previous mass extinctions. Earlier estimates of extinction rates have been criticized for using assumptions that might overestimate the severity of the extinction crisis. We assess, using extremely conservative assumptions, whether human activities are causing a mass extinction. First, we use a recent estimate of a background rate of 2 mammal extinctions per 10,000 species per 100 years (that is, 2 E/MSY), which is twice as high as widely used previous estimates. We then compare this rate with the current rate of mammal and vertebrate extinctions. The latter is conservatively low because listing a species as extinct requires meeting stringent criteria. Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 100 times higher than the background rate. Under the 2 E/MSY background rate, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have taken, depending on the vertebrate taxon, between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear.” Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction.

I mentioned in the interview; “The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) simply blows out of the water anything else that’s been attempted in human history. As currently planned, it will involve some 7,000 separate infrastructure or extractive industry projects scattered across 70-odd nations, with a total price-tag of $8 trillion. It’ll span half the planet — from Asia to Africa, Europe and the South Pacific.”
It’s hard for me to think where the sand, let alone the energy for this project will come from,considering to all intents and purposes we have consumed the planets ‘construction sand’ already.China’s Global Infrastructure Initative Could Bring Environmental Catastrophe
Also mentioned was this quote from Joanna Macy:
“Because of social taboos, despair at the state of our world and fear for our future are rarely acknowledged. The suppression of despair, like that of any deep recurring response, contributes to the numbing of the psyche”. The Greatest Danger;

On a similar theme this great You Tube presentation from ” Human Decimation of Earths Creatures:”
I’ve embedded below another important discussion between Professors Paul Ehrlich and Guy McPherson titled: A Conversation with Paul Ehrlich

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, Habitat, Near Term Human Extinction--NTHE, Podcasts
137 comments on “Professor Paul Ehrlich: “The Annihilation of Nature”.
  1. bill says:

    The latest nightmare suffered while wide awake is the belated revelation of the plastic pollution of the Oceans and its wild creatures down to a micro level. A plastic bag was discovered at the bottom of the Mariana trench 36000 ft below. Whales and fish are washing up dead on beaches with guts full of plastic. Seabirds also are dying from thinking plastic is food! 😦 ” We have reached the point no return on planet Earth, where the collective intent for biosphere collapse is manifesting at dizzying speed. From widespread social unrest to aggressive threats of nuclear war, to pollution soiling every inch of the planet (and beyond), to mass animal and plant extinction, global overpopulation, and runaway biosphere decay. Many powerful forces are converging to create unprecedented chaos and breakdown.

    In her outspoken way, Deb Ozarko exposes the madness of the cultural conditioning that has separated humanity from the web of life that sustains existence. In raw, yet eloquent detail, she makes it impossible for the reader to dismiss this truth for themselves. The question we are now faced with is, “How do we choose to live in a dying world?” ” Deb Ozarko from the book Beyond Hope. She’s worth interviewing for her realism and sincerity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin Hester says:

      Thanks for your informed comment and suggestion to interview Deb Ozarko Bill.
      I have ordered “Beyond Hope” and will invite her onto the show when I have had a chance to read it.


  2. bill says:

    The mass extinction of the Oceans. We will follow too into the void of extinction! 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wqjcv says:

    When I was a boy, a truck would come around during the summer and spray oil on unpaved roads to keep the dust down. We were ignorant of the risk of playing in the sand with those chemicals.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kevin Hester says:

    The big lesson for me from this article is that George Monbiot is grieving.
    He’s baring witness to the collapse of the biosphere and both feeling and showing it in public.It takes courage, believe me,I know.


  5. Kevin Hester says:

    Paul Ehrlich and Derrick Jenson interview on Resistance Radio;


  6. Kevin Hester says:

    Jane Hannah Ruppe via Fascadebook;

    This is the 2nd article in a 5-part series. Here is the link to the 1st article which I posted several days ago entitled “Our Changing Climate”:…/15/our-changing-climate/

    LPI is Living Planet Index.
    “Every two years, Global Footprint Network, WWF, and the Zoological Society of London publish the Living Planet Report. The Living Planet Report 2016 (October) is an eye opener:

    The Global Living Planet Index shows a decline of 58% between 1970 and 2012 trend in population abundance for 14,152 populations of 3,706 species monitored across the globe between 1970 and 2012.

    The terrestrial LPI shows a decline of 38% 1970 and 2012 trend in population abundance for 4,658 populations of 1,678 terrestrial species monitored across the globe between 1970 and 2012.

    The tropical forest species LPI shows a decline of 41 per cent 1970 and 2009 trend in population abundance for 369 populations of 220 tropical forest species (84 mammals, 110 birds, 10 amphibians and 16 reptiles) monitored across the globe between 1970 and 2009.

    The grassland species LPI shows a decline of 18 per cent between 1970 and 2012 trend in population abundance for 372 populations of 126 grassland species (55 mammals, 58 birds and 13 reptiles) monitored across the globe between 1970 and 2012.

    The freshwater LPI shows a decline of 81 per cent 1970 and 2012 trend in population abundance for 3,324 populations of 881 freshwater species monitored across the globe between 1970 and 2012.

    The wetland dependent species LPI shows a decline of 39 per cent between 1970 and 2012 trend in population abundance for 706 inland wetlands populations of 308 freshwater species (4 mammals, 48 birds, 224 fish, 4 amphibians and 28 reptiles) monitored across the globe between 1970 and 2012.

    The marine LPI shows a decline of 36 per cent between 1970 and 2012 trend in population abundance for 6,170 populations of 1,353 marine species monitored across the globe between 1970 and 2012.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kevin Hester says:

    “If anything, I think their results and caveats are understated. The gravity of their findings and ramifications for other animals, especially vertebrates, is hyperalarming,” Wagner said.
    The predicament can only be worse than what we know.


  8. Kevin Hester says:

    “Insect populations in the tropics are facing a crisis as global warming drives up temperatures, causing a 98 percent decline in their numbers over the last four decades.”

    Paul Ehrlich and I talked about the insect collapse in Europe. This level of collapse in the equitorial regions makes it more wide spread than previously thought.


  9. Sara Ross says:

    Thank you Mr. Hester for all of this data, and the latest from the Ehrlichs. As my Father (who was a chemist and Physician educated at UC and Stanford) “Too GD many people!”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kevin Hester says:

    “The story is similar for familiar species everywhere and likely worse for non-charismatic fauna. Scientists estimate that the “modern” species extinction rate is 1,000 to as much as 10,000 times the natural background rate. The global economy is busily converting living nature into human bodies and domestic livestock largely unnoticed by our increasingly urban populations. Urbanization distances people psychologically as well as spatially from the ecosystems that support them.”


  11. Ted Bohne says:

    Syrian Civil War? US invasion.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Kevin Hester says:

    “The term “biological annihilation” was introduced in 2017 in a seminal paper by scientists Geraldo Ceballos, Paul Ehrlich, and Rodolpho Dirzo, whose research focused on the population declines, as well as extinctions, of vertebrate species. “Our data,” they wrote then, “indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations.”


  13. Kevin Hester says:

    “Extreme weather events are “annihilating” populations of wildlife around the world, according to researchers.”
    Annihilation becoming a recurring theme.


  14. Kevin Hester says:

    “If we included plants, I can easily say we’re talking about 5,000 species,” Ceballos says. “Plants, fish and invertebrates, we’re probably talking about 10,000 species or even more.”
    The annihilation of nature on steroids.


  15. Kevin Hester says:

    “A study published last year pulls no punches by describing the mass extermination of billions of animals in recent decades as a “biological annihilation.”
    This was the Paul Ehrlich, Geraldo Ceballos paper that I interviewed Paul about.


  16. Kevin Hester says:

    Sadly most people and journalists concentrate of the mega-fauna and the ‘charismatic’ species when all species have evolved to play a role in the fabric of the biosphere. Removing anyone has a domino effect.


  17. Kevin Hester says:

    If 5G is implemented, no person, no animal, no bird, no insect and no plant on Earth will be able to avoid exposure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to levels of RF radiation that are tens to hundreds of times greater than what exists today, without any possibility of escape anywhere on the planet.
    Another nail in the coffin of insect life.


  18. Kevin Hester says:

    “We were wearing snorkel goggles and respirators to do the job,” said MacAulay, a volunteer since 2016. “It was just horrible. Everywhere you stepped, you couldn’t go down to the shoreline. It was lined all the way with dead fish. … The bugs were worse.”


  19. Kevin Hester says:

    “We are essentially destroying the very life support systems that allow us to sustain our existence on the planet, along with all the other life on the planet,” Lister said. “It is just horrifying to watch us decimate the natural world like this.”


  20. Kevin Hester says:

    Aotearoa NZ catching up with Europe in the collapse of the insect populations and giving encouragement to those of us at the Rakino Island Nursery to continue our native tree rewilding program which is proving that if we create habitat both the bird and insect populations can bounce back;


  21. Kevin Hester says:

    “Scientists have suggested that since the mid-20th century, when radioactive fallout from above-ground nuclear weapons tests began to spread across the globe and human impacts on the environment began to rapidly accelerate, the earth entered a new epoch whereby human society became the primary geological force whose actions determine the future of the entire Earth system.”
    We are the asteroid of the sixth great extinction !!!


  22. Kevin Hester says:

    “A 2017 study in Germany noted a 75 percent decline in flying insects over three decades. “The widespread insect biomass decline is alarming,” the authors wrote, “ever more so as all traps were placed in protected areas that are meant to preserve ecosystem functions and biodiversity.”
    I interviewed Professor Paul Ehrlich in June last year about the study mentioned in this article. Guy and I will be re-interviewing him in the March episode of Nature Bats Last. You will be able to find it and previous shows in the NBL archive at PRN.FM


  23. Peter Wadhams says:

    President Ninisto’s remarks echo the thesis in my book “A Farewell to Ice” that the Arctic is the key to global warming impacts and that we are on track to lose everything.

    Liked by 1 person

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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.

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