THE CAREFUL FOOT


What, Me Worry?

SO FAR, most species that were alive 5,000 years ago have survived to our day. Some say that because of this, whoever predicts trouble should be ignored. But extinction usually takes a long time and many species already find themselves in a free fall from about the top of the Sears Tower. As they pass the 80th floor, maybe we should say,"So far, so good."

The problem is that human enterprise has degraded a huge fraction of the Earth's land surface. Ecology has discovered that such loss of habitat eventually extracts its price. If we remove 50% of the land from the possibility of use by wild species, we will lose about 50% of species. If we remove 90%, we will lose 90%. The law is simple and life has obeyed it for hundreds of millions of years.

But to use land, we don't have to take it away from other species.
We can have our land and share it, too.


Sick and tired of the battle between economics and ecology?



How about the battle between ecology and religion?



Must we give up either Nature or the comforts of civilization?

Larger regions have more species of freshwater fish
Xiphophorus malinche
The more area available, the more species. This example shows the world's freshwater tropical fish species. It uses a logarithmic scale for ecomomy of space: 1 =10; 4 = 10,000; 7 = 10,000,000; etc. So, Hawaii covers 10,358 square kilometers and has five species, while South America covers 17,900,000 square kilometers and has about 3200 species. The blue line is the trend line (whose equation appears below the chart's title).

Chart courtesy Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd.