Hey just wondering what you think the biggest human related threats to the natural world are!
- Land clearing
- Climate change
- Over fishing/hunting
- All of the above
- Humans have no major impacts
Lastly if any of you are interested there is this Petition created by one of my friends. Asking the government to stop investing in fossil fuels and invest in clean energy.
What about introduced pests/diseases? For example many plants in the family Myrtaceae were just a few years ago here in Australia were not threatened before myrtle rust reared its head. Now many of those plants are critically endangered. The myrtle rust not only affects the health of the leaves, it also seems to stop plants producing fruit (based on my anecdotal observations). I guess that’s “other”. Edit: myrtle rust seems so spread quite easily without human intervention (it might be spread by cars and hikers but although it does seem to spread without human involvement at all it seems, anecdotally, to be more prevalent in areas visited by humans, I don’t know) but many other pathogens are spread by humans so this should be an option :)
That’s a succinct way of putting it.
That may be true, but without our existence we wouldn’t (and cannot) know
This is very complicated, as everything is interconnected. In part, it can be traced back to the dominant economic system that we have evolved. Somehow a system that makes it more efficient to send fish caught in Manitoba to Asia for processing and then returned, rather than processing it here, is fundamentally wrong. Crops and livestock are reared and then sold half way around the world. All of this has an effect on the natural world. Rivers polluted from runoff generated by industrial pig farms. Deforestation to plant essentially non food crops. Ships that clear out ballast tanks introduce foreign life forms. Goods are being moved all around the world for something. Look at those massive container ships - what’s inside them, where are they going, where have they come from? Why do people need them? And then we have this - Mike Graham interview with Insulate Britain spokesman Cameron lasts less than a minute - YouTube. I despair.
I’d better stop, I could go on about it for days.
Something that’s rarely ever talked about is that in addition to all the other problems, we are actively preventing species from moving as they attempt to adapt to changes in the environment and climate.
We have erected massive barriers to movement (roads, agricultural areas, suburbs & urbanized areas, dams, etc) that many species can’t cross effectively in order to make the physical movements and changes in range they need to. This is true of both animals and plants.
On top of that, we have policies that aim to keep species in their places and to prevent natural movement of species. Many of the well meaning species protection regulations are limited in geographic scope and result in engaging in habitat and wildlife management aimed at keeping a species in a place that it was, but that may not longer be suitable as a result of environmental changes.
We don’t make good distinctions between natural movement of species into new areas and anthropogenic introductions. As a result species that make a natural transition into an adjacent region often get treated as “invasive” and lumped into the same category as species that were introduced from overseas.
This is going to have a very large impact on species survival as the environmental changes ramp ip in severity, and it’s one that’s going largely unnoticed, other than by a few groups looking at large scale landscape connectivity. Unfortunately, much of the connectivity work results in narrow corridors, which are better than nothing, but don’t really lead to a permeable landscape, which is what species need.
When it comes to the environmental challenges and how to rank them, it’s almost impossible to know where to begin, and they’re all intertwined with each other in any event.
One attempt to quantify this is the planetary boundaries project: https://stockholmresilience.org/research/planetary-boundaries/the-nine-planetary-boundaries.html
Here is the most recent paper discussing the status of each: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1259855
And here’s a graphical depiction of the estimated statuses:
In reading about these, the thing that stands out the most is the uncertainty. We don’t necessarily know how much damage we’ve done, and we really don’t know how resilient the planet is to those changes. Also obviously many of these things are regional, so some aspects that are considered okay on a planetary scale are clearly not doing fine in certain areas (and vice versa).
Thinking about all these issues makes you want to think about what to do about them, and I don’t see a productive line of thought coming out of this one…
Strangely, but I would name one more - industrial afforestation.
But the root of everything is excessive production, overconsumption, overpopulation.
We are not a threat to nature. We can be a threat to biodiversity, as everyone is writing about here. And for biodiversity, the biggest threat is overconsumption (the reason for everything above)
Yep. The only productive thoughts I have are don’t have kids (easy for me to say, I never wanted any) and stop acquiring stuff (says the person who just acquired four unnecessary pieces of hand-made pottery yesterday).
Human greed and overpopulation.
I’m not clear what distinction you are making between nature and biodiversity. Would you explain a little, please?
Earth is not yet overpopulated. And it’s a self-healing affair. If the environment does not support people, we start to die of hunger and wars. And perhaps the growth of the population will inhibit this behavior known from the Calhoun experiment https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavioral_sink
Nature , in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe - from english wikipedia. Biodiversity is just variety of life on Earth.
My understanding is that the world population is expected to plateau and start declining in the next 50 years since more developed countries have stable or often declining birth rates, so probably not getting much above 10 billion.
It’s true we sould die, but many other species too, goal is not to kill them, otherwise there’re quick and easy way to kill everything. It is overpopulated, there’re not enough supplies to feed all people alive today with normal level of provision.