Tag Archives: Extinction of Species

Kill all snakes and frogs!

Are we  clowns?

32% of amphibians; 24% of birds and 12% of mammals are in threat of extinction. Hundreds of these offer potential in medical science and in food improvements but even with that going for them we are still not unduly exercised by this reality. We are indeed fools.

Bushmaster snakes from South America kill in an interesting manner – their venom drops the blood pressure of their victims to zero. But the same venom hold potential in the manufacture of blood pressure medication.

The poison in Panamanian Poison Frogs offer possibility in alleviating heart conditions. One scorpion may prove useful in the production of molecules to fight brain tumours.

There are about 600 species of cone snails. Only six have been studied in any detail. Those who suffer from epilepsy should know that the poison in the dart that they inject into their prey  offers hope for this ailment. Yet we destroy the mangrove swamps that they need: why do we destroy them? We do it  to create shrimp farms.

Yes we are indeed clowns.

At this stage we need nothing less than a world conservation ethic  that millions of people in dozens of countries would experience  a wake-up call that all of us need to come together to stem this loss of species – even if it is only for our own selfish reasons.

We are indeed fools if we continue to allow this draining away of potential into extinction.

Nature Conservation – a Global Event?

 

Is it just me? Or are there others out there with similar views?

We are not winning the battle to conserve species. Indeed was there ever a time when we could say we were?

Right now as you read this blog, across the world in dozens of countries there are thousands of committed people and groups and clubs doing their best to protect habitats and biodiversity. In addition thousands of articles in magazines and Sunday Supplements  raise concerns for the run-away effect of global warming that is now creating consequences for all of us. Yet it is extraordinary that in spite of unusual storms and other odd climatic events, that are now increasingly common, that there is not a unified global-wide outcry by citizens.

So we need to ask the hard question – is all of the effort made by park rangers and scientists and others in national parks, and other places, around the world to win affection for nature having any permanent change of minds? There is no evidence that this intended good work is starting to generate a global consensus to protect species and their varied habitats.

Undoubtedly many of these fine talks and nature walks are enjoyable. But do even the finest of them actually change attitudes in a meaningful and sustained way that benefits nature?

We hold wildlife international conferences where politicians spout out words of concern and intent – and indeed sometime agree on a plan of action to protect habitats – only to have these aspirations drain away as soon as they pack their bags to return home.    

Why should we be surprised? Politicians do not carry to such meetings a broad and angry demand from their own people that meaningful agreements be reached to protect nature – and with the clear understanding that if nothing of significance is agreed that there will be political consequences when they return home. Unless we get to that level of public demand of our politicians nothing will change. Politicians will continue to drone out their indignation and meaningless sentiments.  

All my life I have lived with stories of rhino and elephants being killed; rare tigers and leopards taken for their fur and bone and blood; swamps drained on which exquisite frogs and cranes depend; coral rotting from polluted water or destroyed by fishermen; butterflies quietly dying from poisoning. Yet we register no moral outrage at what is happening.

So clearly we need another approach. We need to engage in something that will stir our imagination – and do it at a planet-wide level. Something on a global scale where we all can feel we have taken part.So what might we do? 

We need to come together to organize a world event for nature. Something that will register as the first step towards a planet-wide ethic for nature. Something too that will be remembered as the pivotal moment when millions of people, together, around the world, took up the banner for the protection of nature. If we achieve that then politicians will know they have serious issues to address.  

In Planet Dancing I have argued that we need to create a Children of the World Nature Reserve. Such a reserve would be paid for from pennies and cents and dollars and euros and other small change, collected from millions of children around the world. Such a place, created  by the efforts of children, would be special to them and they would want to know what lives in such a place and how it is managed on their behalf. On growing up these children would carry into their adult lives an understanding of habitats and what is needed if species are to survive. They would carry this understanding into their business and political judgments. This would be the start of a global awakening of what needs to be done.

Anything less than a global reach like this will fall short of what is now needed if we are ever to change minds in a way that will be meaningful.

(Extract from Planet Dancing.)