Introduction

1. Richard Leakey and Roger Levin, The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind (New York: Doubleday, 1995), pp. 221, 41.

2. Bertolt Brecht, Gedichte V (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1964), p. 62.

3. "Wir Werden Einsam Sein: Evolutionsbiologe Edward O. Wilson Über Artenvielfalt, Ameisen Und Menschen," Der Spiegel 48 (1995): pp. 193-204. NB: until several years ago, biology texts would tell you that the number of species living today might be as high as 3 million to 5 million but is probably less. Thanks to recent work in the tropical rain forests, however, biologists such as Paul Ehrlich and Edward O. Wilson now believe that we have just barely begun to catalog the Earth's present inventory of species. These two scientists have estimated that there may be as many as 50 million species on earth today, with the vast majority packed into several habitats: tropical rain forests, coral reefs, and perhaps the deep sea. Such complex and far-flung environments are very difficult to census. See Peter Douglas Ward, Rivers in Time: The Search for Clues to Earth's Mass Extinctions (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), p. 28, Edward O. Wilson and F.M. Peter, eds, Biodiversity, 9th edn (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1992).

4. Ed Ayres, "The Fastest Mass Extinction in Earth's History," Worldwatch 11(5) (September/October) (1998).

5. Edward O. Wilson, The Diversity ofLife (New York: W.W. Norton, 1992).

6. Peter Douglas Ward, The End of Evolution: A Journey in Search of Clues to the Third Mass Extinction Facing the Planet Earth (New York: Bantam Books, 1995), pp. xvi-xvii, Ward, Rivers in Time: The Search for Clues to Earth's Mass Extinctions.

7. Ward, Rivers in Time: The Search for Clues to Earth's Mass Extinctions, p. 7, Peter Douglas Ward and Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe (New York: Copernicus, 2000), pp. 7, 113.

8. These were the short-term effects of the first few hours and days.

9. Ward, The End of Evolution: A Journey in Search of Clues to the Third Mass Extinction Facing the Planet Earth, Ward, Rivers in Time: The Search for Clues to Earth's Mass Extinctions, pp. 7-8.

10. Stephen Jay Gould, book cover introduction to Peter Ward's The End of Evolution.

11. The key question in this book is not whether Homo sapiens sapiens does violence to nature, since it is probably not possible for him to do otherwise. Homo sapiens is part of nature, and in some sense, we need to do violence to other species if we are to survive and reproduce as a species. Rather, the question is first whether this violence needs to be mindless, cruel, and unnecessary, and, second, whether this sort of behavior now confronts the supreme contradiction: Homo sapiens cannot continue in this way and survive.

12. Stephen Jay Gould, The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History, 1st edn (New York: W.W. Norton, 1985), pp. 231-2, Glendon Schubert, "Catastrophe Theory, Evolutionary Extinction, and Revolutionary Politics," in The Dynamics of Evolution: Punctuated Equilibrium Debate in the Natural and Social Sciences, ed. Albert Sombert and Stephen A. Peterson (Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press, 1989), pp. 248-81.

13. For a discussion of extinction estimates, see Ward, The End of Evolution: A Journey in Search of Clues to the Third Mass Extinction Facing the Planet Earth, p. 250.

15. Wilson, The Diversity of Life. Edward O. Wilson, The Future ofLife (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002).

16. See Norman Myers et al., "Biodiversity Hotspots for Conservation Priorities," Nature 403 (2000).

17. Edward O. Wilson, Vanishing Point: On Bjorn Lomborg and Extinction ([Online, available: http://www.gristmagazine.com/grist/books/wilson121201.asp], 2001).

18. The 130,000-year-old earliest known example to date of a modern human being, Homo sapiens sapiens, was found at Omo in East Africa; skull size and shape are completely modern. Characteristic early tools of Homo sapiens sapiens, all from East or South Africa, include bolas for throwing at small game and flake tools.

19. Norman Myers, ed., Biological Diversity and Global Security, Ecology, Economics, Ethics: The Broken Circle (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991).

20. Mainstream sociology tends to view society as a system of communication (see Niklas Luhman, Ecological Communication [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986]), and disregards its material properties. So too, neoclassical economics, which views the economy as a system of stocks and flows of money; it is only the monetary side of reality that is addressed by economic theory. At best, physical concepts are discussed as tools for the development of monetarization. These kinds of theories are not very helpful in conceptualizing the relationships between societies and their natural environments.

21. A recent New York Times poll, for example, found that only 1 per cent of Americans consider the environment the most important problem facing the country (ENN, July 1 1998). See Jay Hanson and Phyllis Hanson, Brain Food: Requiem, ed. J. Hanson, Brain Food Mailer, Newsletter ([Online, available: http://dieoff.org], 1998).

22. Tim F. Flannery, The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2001), Francis Haines, The Buffalo (New York: Crowell, 1975), A.W. Schorger, The Passenger Pigeon: Its Natural History and Extinction (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1973).

2 3. Jeremy B.C. Jackson et al., "Historical Overfishing and the Recent Collapse of Coastal Ecosystems," Science 293 (July 27) (2001). See also Archie Fairly Carr, The Sea Turtle: So Excellent a Fishe, First University of Texas Press ed. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986).

24. The term Homo esophagus colossus is analogous to the concept of "future eaters," coined by Tim Flannery in The Future Eaters (New York: George Braziller, 1995). It underscores the argument that we are indeed future eaters.

25. Ghillean T. Prance and Thomas S. Elias, Extinction Is Forever: Threatened and Endangered Species of Plants in the Americas and Their Significance in Ecosystems Today and in the Future (New York: New York Botanical Garden, 1978).

26. United Nations Environment Programme, Governing Council, World Charter for Nature: United Nations General Assembly Resolution 37/7, of 28 October 1982, Environmental Law Guidelines and Principles; 5 (Nairobi: UNEP, 1983).

2 7. Elias Canetti, The Agony of Flies: Notes and Notations, trans. H.F. Broch de

Rothermann from the German "Die Fliegenpein: Aufzeichnungen" (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1994), Anita Gordon and David Suzuki, It's a Matter of Survival (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991). E.O. Wilson cited in Der Spiegel, "Wir Werden Einsam Sein: Evolutionsbiologe Edward O. Wilson Über Artenvielfalt, Ameisen Und Menschen."

28. Canetti, The Agony of Flies: Notes and Notations, p. 199.

29. David Pimentel et al., "Economic and Environmental Benefits of Biodiversity," Bioscience 47(11) (December) (1997), Payal Sampal, "Judgement Protects Indigenous Knowledge," Worldwatch 11(1) (January/February) (1998), p. 8.

30. Robert Costanza et al., "The Value of the World's Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital," Nature 387(6630) (May 15) (1997).

31. Janet N. Abramovitz, "Putting a Value on Nature's 'Free' Services," Worldwatch 11(1) (January/February) (1998), pp. 18-19, Costanza et al., "The Value of the World's Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital."

32. At least one tree species became extinct in the wake of the extermination of the dodo due to its ecologically strategic role as a seed distributor or germinator. See Wolfgang Lutz et al., Understanding Population-Development-Environment Interactions: A Case Study on Mauritius (Laxenburg, Vienna: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis [IIASA] in Collaboration with University of Mauritius; Sponsored by United Nations Population Fund [UNFDP], 1993).

33. World Resources Institute (WRI), Teachers' Guide to World Resources: Biodiversity, Educational Resources (Washington, DC: World Resources Institute, 1994), p. 3.

34. "Schlimmster Krieg Aller Zeiten," Der Spiegel 18 (1992), pp. 218-32.

35. See WRI, Teachers' Guide to World Resources: Biodiversity.

36. Costanza et al., "The Value of the World's Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital." See also Gretchen C. Daily, "Ecosystem Services: Benefits Supplied to Human Societies by Natural Ecosystems," Issues in Ecology 2 (Spring) (1997), Gretchen C. Daily, ed., Nature's Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1998).

3 7. David Pimentel et al., "Natural Resources and an Optimum Human Population,"

Population and Environment 15(5) (1994), David Pimentel and Marcia Pimentel, "U.S. Food Production Threatened by Rapid Population Growth," Gaya Preservation Coalition (GPC) Prepared for the Carrying Capacity Network, Washington, DC (1997), Pimentel et al., "Economic and Environmental Benefits of Biodiversity."

38. Abramovitz, "Putting a Value on Nature's 'Free' Services," p. 10.

39. Mark Nathan Cohen, The Food Crisis in Prehistory: Overpopulation and the Origins of Agriculture (London and New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977). See also Mark Nathan Cohen and George J. Armelagos, Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture (New York: Academic Press, 1984).

40. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and Discourses, 1755: "Discourse on the Origin of Inequality," Response To: "Question Proposed by the Academy of Dijon: What Is the Origin of the Inequality among Mankind; and Whether Such Inequality Is Authorized by the Law" (New York: Dutton, 1950).

41. Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. John Cummings (New York: Herder & Herder, 1972).

42. Peter T. Manicas, War and Democracy (Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1989).

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