Monday, May 30, 2011

What I hope to accomplish, and the Thomas Knight Comparative Population Decimation Scale of Doom©

“Why start a blog about conservation?” you may well ask.  “Hasn't enough been said concerning conservation?  Aren't you just sullying the already murky internet's depths with something which has already been done?”  Perhaps, we will see.  This may be useful, or it may not be, but I feel there is a need and I will see if I can help fill that need.  If not, then at least I have tried, and you can't fault a person for trying (except, I suppose poor little Rebecca Black shows that isn't necessarily true) and in a worst case scenario at least I won't actually harm any conservation efforts.  If only one person motivated through this blog does something, anything at all, then I feel like my labors here will not have been for naught.

One way which I hope to add something is through providing a desperately needed scale.  Species population collapses around the globe are happening on scales which we simply can't visualize because our little primate brains (which originally evolved so we could determine how to escape  predators & find food & mates, not process numbers in the hundreds, never mind millions or billions) cannot grasp numbers so large.  Consequently, when I look at population declines among animal species, I will demonstrate what would happen among the human population if we lost a similar percentage of our species.

As an example, when we hear the white-rumped vulture Gyps bengalensis, formerly possibly the most abundant large bird of prey globally, has experienced a 99.9% population decrease over the past 10-15 years, it sounds horrible, but it is impossible to visualize what that really means.  When we use the Thomas Knight Comparative Population Decimation Scale of Doom© we can grasp the scale a bit better, because we are looking at how many humans would be exterminated while create a similar disaster within our own species.  Regarding this particular case, all North Americans would be dead.  So would South America, Australia, Africa, and Europe's entire populations.  The Antarctic scientists - also all gone.  Which leaves Asia.  Exterminate them all also, all except the few people who live within teeny tiny (zoom until you see it- then look at the scale) Hong Kong.  This is what would be left: people who currently live within Hong Kong.  Everyone else would be dead.  Visualization is still hard, but it helps make what has happened regarding white-rumped vultures over the past 10-15 years a little more real.  The astoundingly, mind-blowingly horrific genocides and wars which humans have committed against other humans have been horrible, but those pale through comparison when you see how we treat other species which share our planet.  But this blog's purpose is not to condemn people who destroy those species, but celebrate people who stop the declines and help them do their work.  So join with me and help give these people & organizations some love/publicity/money/support!
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1 comment:

  1. You mean there are other animals besides rats, cockroaches and pigeons?

    All kidding aside, traipsing through San Francisco these days one might see deer, skunk, raccoon, feral cats (I feed them), coyote (i've seen coyote on the GG Bridge late at night commuting to the city), fox, possum, and more. Looking up one might see canadian geese, duck, red tailed hawk, a peregrine falcon (perhaps with a pigeon in it's talons, thank you very much) pelican, etc. Seal and seal lion swim up to our docks, and the occasional whale might poke his/her nose into the bay for a look-see. Cross either bridge and you might find Mountain lion, bobcat, and a host of other animals. I've heard black bear are starting to make their way closer and closer... (I can see it now, bear crossing signs out by Stinson or Bolinas)...

    We share our local ecosystem with so many of our wild friends, I'm surprised there aren't more incidents with them,, Perhaps they've finally figured out how dangerous we are...

    None of which presents an argument against conservation. Particularly against the conservation of habitats and wild spaces. This, I feel is the keystone issue. If I'm seeing all these animals in urbanized areas, it's because their habitats have been compromised, and they are finding food here, which impacts their behavioral ability to find food in the wild..

    Far as I can tell, the ecological balance present in Earth's natural habitats is so delicate and so sophisticated, it's very easy to upset, particularly by human encroachment. We really don't know how we're affecting things by our rapid expansion and voracious use of previously wild lands.

    Don't know about you, but I'm not looking forward to having to escape a black bear or get pounced on by some cougar when I'm skateboarding down some back road in Marin.. };)

    Well, perhaps that's just what we (people) need, as far as the Earth is concerned... };)