Too Many People Threaten All Other Animals on Earth

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By Maria Fotopoulos

Maria is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow who focuses on the impacts of growth on biodiversity. Find her on Twitter | in | FB.

The writer’s views are her own.


March 10, 2013

Thanks again to Kenneth Weiss at the Los Angeles Times for talking about the impacts of human overpopulation. You may recall that Weiss penned the excellent series, “Beyond 7 Billion.”

In his new article, Weiss reported on a poll conducted for the Center for Biological Diversity that found a majority of Americans think human population growth globally is driving other species to extinction. Those polled also think that population growth is making climate change worse.

With world population estimated to reach a frightening 10 billion people by 2050, 64 percent of those polled said wildlife with be adversely affected, while 61 percent are concerned about the rate of wildlife loss now. In the face of continuing population growth, 60 percent said we have a moral responsibility to address the extinction of wildlife, and 54 percent believe that stabilizing population growth will help protect the environment.

Anyone who has a cursory understanding of the impact of humankind – more people living on Earth than ever before, on the move at greater levels than ever before and engaged in all sorts of environmentally damaging behaviors – sees the destruction that is being wrought on biodiversity. It’s shockingly evident with the apex predators. There may be as few as 22,000 polar bears. Dependent on ice, their future looks grim. Ice is disappearing.

The future for tigers looks even worse. From an estimated 1,000,000 population at the beginning of the 20th century, the wild tiger population is down to perhaps as few as 3,200 (estimate). The Bali, Caspian and Javan tigers all went extinct in the 1980s.

So, it’s encouraging to see more people and more organizations making the connection between human overpopulation and biodiversity loss and, even more important, getting high-level media attention.

Read more about the Center’s poll results here.




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