What do you think the biggest human related threats to biodiversity are?

i don’t think they used to nest in huge colonies on exposed islands before? i don’t know, i’m a plant ecologist, maybe i’m totally wrong here :sweat_smile:

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Yup, sorry. Cormorants have always been colonial nesters.

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i am just passing on knowledge that was imparted to me, i am sorry if it was wrong.

No problem. Looks like I should have used an emoji to soften my reply. I am a bit emotional about this issue (see below), but you didn’t say anything bad.

I’m pretty sure the colonies are the biggest reason people “flip out” over Cormorants returning to areas where they’d been extirpated. They look ugly, and I think that’s all the motivation people need. But nobody is willing to put that forward as the central reason to cull cormorants, so they come up with lots of plausible-sounding but bullshit stories: They’re eating all the fish! (Yet they aren’t proposing to cull other bird species which eat fish.) They’re overpopulated! (Yet Cormorants aren’t even close to reaching their pre-WWII population.) They destroy the habitat of endangered species! (Yeah? Which ones?) And “the colonies are ugly” ends up as a reworded footnote about them being “detrimental to aesthetics” (direct quote from a recent attempt in Ontario). But that’s the only argument in favour of culling which doesn’t fall apart when you poke it.

I think ugliness is not a sufficient reason to kill birds.

… end rant. I swear I can debate rationally about this. But it’s an issue where I have to work hard to stay calm. Too close to home, I guess.


ok maybe I misunderstand something

I’m not saying most people think so, I just wrote my version.

Ugliness is an ugly reason to kill. I’m just learning about the control measures on the lakes. It sounds like there may sometimes be legitimate concerns about displacing other birds who then have nowhere to go, but that the reason for that is that we reserved habitat at a time when cormorant populations were artificially very low. What naturally accommodated them and other species is now mostly used by humans. Nobody has seen normal populations in their lifetime and see them as invasive, which seems strange to me for a highly mobile species not being brought over a geographic barrier or losing a predator. With most of their diet now consisting of invasive fish, instead of going after them for them damage created by crowding them into the scant habitat we’ve left them, shouldn’t we be finding ways to accommodate more of them?


Help me out here. This isn’t just supposed to be a brainstorm session of all the human-caused threats; it is our ideas of which ones are the biggest. So please help me understand how you feel these two are bigger, meaning more destructive to biodiversity, than the ones on the original poll.

Well, cormorants get more consideration than spiders, then. People who kill spiders have no difficulty admitting that ugliness is the reason (“I just don’t like all those legs”).

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I must apologize but I don’t have time to be a teacher here. Try digging into the academic world of noise and light. They are HUGE problems to biodiversity! Start with “The phantom roadway.”

Think about, for instance, California’s loss of 95% of their wetlands as well as a massive Serengeti-like bottomland complex of herbaceous vegetation, flood plain, and tule swamp. Essentially all obliverated along with countless plants and animals, probably dozens of lically endemic plants and animals rendered extinct before they were documented by Western science, not to mention the genocide of the people living there and managing the land. So, compare that with noise and light pollution. The latter matter, yes, but they are in and of themselves a subset of habitat loss in their impacts. So i don’t understand saying they are the biggest threat.


Human builduings’ existence in their current numbers alone is a bigger problem that light pollution, which wouldn’t have that big effect if biosystems weren’t already damaged and vulnerable.

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That is an inappropriate post for this forum.


Good. censor me and stick your heads in the sand about light and noise pollution not being huge threats. The OP asked and that’s my opinion.

Asserting that the biggest threat to biodiversity is light and noise pollution isn’t against the forum guidelines but attacking other users is. You can edit the post snd we can unflag it, if you want.


I am currently in middle school, and I can definitely say that the only thing we are supposed to learn about nature is that is is dangerous and generally dirty and bad (I obviously didn’t listen). Education about the enviroment would really make a big impact.


Right, I think the only nature-related classes we have was in 2nd grade when children are 8 y. old and can’t really care about anything serious or when we had to gather collections of fallen leaves, of course I had more as I moved to school where classes had specifications, but otherwise in my first school in some aspects I knew more than our bilogy teacher, she didn’t get any additional qualifications probably for decades, and my husband hated bilogy overall because his teacher was crazy and broke some of his things, he wasn’t an angel, but it shows why so few people know anything about environment they live in.

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We are but the tiniest of fractions of the planet’s biodiversity and have the largest of influences, yet it seems the vast majority feel little connection. There’s a giant divide between human and other life. Our social tendencies make this easy to fall into, with the endless options provided by technology now, easier still. Our very existence is and always has been completely dependent on the natural world, but instead of being a focus for all, an interest in nature is relegated to the status of just one group of special interests and hobbies out of many, on par with sports cars, collecting nick-knacks, and favorite bands. The meaning of “love” in “I love nature” is generally heard about the same as with “I love bacon,” rarely as with “I love my parents.”

The ubiquitous nature of this disconnect can be seen just going for a walk through a residential neighborhood. The strong presence of chemical lawns from which a crop of clipping is regularly harvested and put in plastic bags at the curb as trash and the vast majority of people opting out of what’s left of the ecosystem by planting pest-resistant non-native species shows our priorities. Most of us have not really been taught any other way and I fear the deep feeling of connection with nature that is central to many indigenous cultures is still looked at as primitive, backward, or quirky in our society that was built upon subduing the natural world, often without any effort to understand it first.

The earlier one learns to feel the connection with the natural world, the better. It should be a part of us like our language or our connection with family and friends. It is far too essential to be an afterthought. I had the good fortune of growing up with a meadow in my backyard and had many opportunities to nurture that connection on my own while other kids were playing house or sports. Being more socially adept might have robbed me of this profound experience that I am most grateful for. Going out for walks in the woods or camping, nature is the main attraction for me, but for most others, it seems more like a pleasant background for things that could be done indoors. A mixed flock of a half-dozen species of bird can pass through, surrounding campers with their wonder for minutes, but go completely unnoticed without interrupting the conversation about the human-centered modern world that they are there to escape from for that one weekend in the year.

More people feeling a connection with and responsibility for the natural world as a whole, near and far, would do much to change our current course and would have a great start from people learning about what is there when they step out the door or visit the nearest park. Imagine a world where enthusiasm over wins and losses of local native species that we can do something for paralleled the current enthusiasm for wins and losses of local professional sports teams that we are but spectators of.


There is this paradigm shift in human thinking and acting towards altruism. Nowadays many people refuse to play the egomaniacal career game that has such a horrific impact on this planets nature. But said evolution - our species slowly shifting from egoism towards altruism - is heavily blocked by professional alpha egoists and their loudly chattering beta chimp entourage.
So imo the main problem is that we still select our leaders among the loudest alpha chimps, like we did for millions of years. Admittedly they were the best choice if it came to fending off cave lions, but they use to fail miserably beyond that kind of linear problem. They are an obsolete model of human thinking and absolutely outdated if it comes to solving environmental issues, climate problems or also pandemics.


Unfortunately. However, there are such people as ecosexuals.

One of the hard things about working in retail: you know that spring has arrived when you suddenly get multiple customers a day asking, “Where would I find the bug spray?”

The thing of it in California though is that the neighborhood you refer to might not have grass clippings put out as trash – people might have switched to Astroturf lawns. I know of at least one park that is entirely Astroturfed. It made me sad.

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the astroturf is sad but so are the lawns irrigated with very limited, stolen water.


Habitat loss is without a doubt the biggest threat to biodiversity today. Invasive species and diseases are probably second.