Is life worth living on this earth
Species extinction report : It doesn't look good - to humans
In July an elderly man will celebrate his birthday. His name is James Lovelock and it will be his hundredth. Lovelock is a co-founder of the Gaia hypothesis, according to which all living things function globally together like one large organism. Gaia is earth personified in Greek mythology. Even if this may sound esoteric to some, the Gaia hypothesis is scientifically recognized: The earth is a large ecosystem in which everything is interrelated.
The report of the World Biodiversity Council presented on Monday shows that this system is out of balance. About a million species are acutely threatened, it says. That was actually already known. But the report says one thing above all: humans also belong to the endangered species because they destroy their own livelihood.
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The earth has "man"
When Lovelock was asked during a discussion how Gaia - i.e. the entire earth ecosystem - would function at the end of the 21st century with ten or twelve billion people, he did not answer that people would then have to live more ecologically. Nor did he speak of new technologies or ways of doing business. He said that by the end of the century there would probably only be around a billion people on earth.
Nobody knows the future. What one can know to some extent is the present. And from their condition diagnosis one can derive prognoses. Thanks to increasingly sophisticated scientific methods, data acquisition and evaluation, this is even better today than it was a few years ago. The participants of the General Assembly of the World Biodiversity Council in Paris have now presented such a health check for the earth. Diagnosis: She is not doing well.
And because the patient really seems to be seriously ailing, a second opinion is obtained from experts from the United Nations Environment Program. It will also appear this year. It was announced in advance that the diagnosis will be similar here too.
If you follow Lovelock, then life on earth has always been in equilibrium in its 3.8 billion years. Even after heavy bombardment by asteroids around 65 million years ago. Lovelock thinks she will succeed this time too - by getting rid of a few billion people. And the report of the Biodiversity Council and that of the UN Environment Program basically say the same thing: It is not about "nature" - or individual iconic species. It's about whether and how people on earth will be able to live in the future.
Both reports see massive, "transformative" changes as necessary for this. Not to protect any nature or to save three or even 1000 species from extinction, but to keep the one available planet sustainable and livable for not one, but first of all for a dozen billion people.
Has the means for it homo sapiens. Technologically - and hopefully also emotionally and intellectually. Because it will also have to be about renunciation. And - from mobility to nutrition to reproduction - about compromises. For insight. People can choose. Otherwise Gaia might really decide.
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