Collect Call From Mother Nature That We Must Answer

extinctionDo you hear that?   It’s a call for you.   Are you going to answer the call?  No wait….it’s a call to all of us.  Isn’t somebody going to answer it?

Two oarfish are found dead along the Southern California coast this week.

Majestic moose are disappearing throughout the U.S. at an unprecedented rate.

Mosquitoes that carry dengue and yellow fevers are discovered, for the first time, in California.

And that’s just the phone calls from Mother Nature received in one week!

Recently, the Sierra Nevada red fox was added to the list of 10 species across the country who are facing extinction — just this year alone. This fox joins the  the Eastern Hellbender Aalamander, the Florida Keys mole skink, Suwannee moccasinshell mussel, Panama City crayfish, MacGillivray’s seaside sparrow, boreal toad, bridled darter fish, the loggerhead sea turtle who will officially join the 757 imperiled species across the U.S. legally recognized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

USA Today featured a story about the dramatic decline of the common house sparrow. London reported a loss of 70% of its sparrows in a seven year period. But its not just Britain getting called.    Cities across Europe (Dublin, Prague and Moscow) have witnessed similar drops; with less dramatic but steady declines documented in India, Canada and New England.  The disappearance of the sparrow — widely perceived as a barometer of environmental conditions — cannot yet be explained by scientists.

In July 2015, scientists announced more evidence of a pervasive collapse not only of honeybee colonies, but other bee species are showing signs of decline.  Wild bees, which are not managed by humans like honeybees are, are disappearing at an alarming rate, due to factors such as habitat loss and the effects of pesticides.  Bumblebees on both North American and Europe are experiencing dramatic losses in the southern parts of their ranges because they do not have the ability to adapt to changing climate in the way that some organisms that have a tropical evolutionary history are able to adapt.

It’s bad enough that we aren’t answering Mother Nature’s wake-up calls.  we’re nervous that we aren’t even checking our voice mails. Newspapers are extolling the coincidence of finding one of the rarest fish;  a living giant oarfish was first captured on film in 2008 and a live one has never been caught.    It is among the rarest fish in the deep dark ocean and two show up in Southern California in one week….this is not a coincidence!

The rapid loss of species we are seeing today is estimated by experts to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate.   While we don’t know exactly how many million species there are on this planet, we pretty much know that given the current knowledge, there will be somewhere between 2,000-100,000 species becoming extinct each and every year, with the rate increasing each year.    Most frighteningly, while we are getting a handle on the size, we continue to be clueless about the precise causes or the solutions, short of stopping the damage that we wreak upon the Earth.

And we know that we are the culprits.  Just last month, the UN issued a report concluding that humans are clearly causing climate change. Remember, this is the institution that can agree upon nothing other than to agree to disagree. This is a report that was reviewed and approved by more than 800 authors and 50 editors from dozens of countries.   That many experts couldn’t even agree upon the listing in a telephone book or what they had for breakfast, let alone come to consensus on a complex scientific controversy. Yet the fingers are squarely pointed at us as the intended recipient of Mother Nature’s call. When are we going to take her call?

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