Oldspeak: “The natural world is in the midst of a mass extinction as wild places are destroyed by conversion to farmland, mining and pollution, and animals are hunted in huge numbers. In October, a major analysis found the number of wild creatures was on track to fall by two-thirds by 2020, compared to 1970. Recent red list updates have found the eastern Gorilla and whale shark moving closer to extinction…” –Damian Carrington
“Sad days are upon us friends. Some of the most recognizable and beautiful natives of our our mother continent, Giraffes, Gorillas, Rhinos, Lions, will soon be no more. Add these to the ever growing list of casualties of humanities’ War On Life. The Death Machine that is Industrial Civilization is grinding away much of Life in its way. Destruction of the wild habitats of other lifeforms is an essential function of our machine. It does it every day. Expect the pace of Earth’s 6th and fastest progressing mass extinction to accelerate as these functions continue.
I read a brilliant strategy we could employ to withdraw our support for the functioning of this omnicidal death machine:
“The most effective way of opposing capitalism and the liberal state is not by direct confrontation, but by means of what Paulo Virno has called “engaged withdrawal“, mass defection by those wishing to create new forms of community. One need only glance at the historical record to confirm that the most successful forms of popular resistance have taken precisely this form. They have not involved challenging power head on (this usually leads to being slaughtered, or if not, turning into some – often uglier – variant of the very thing one first challenged) but from one or another strategy of slipping away from its grasp, from flight, desertion, the founding of new communities… Which leads to the question of how to neutralize the state apparatus itself, in the absence of a politics of direct confrontation. No doubt some states and corporate elites will collapse of their own dead weight; a few already have; but it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which they all do… What cannot be destroyed can nonetheless, be diverted, frozen, transformed and gradually deprived of its substance – which in the case of states is its capacity to inspire terror. What would this mean under contemporary conditions? It’s not entirely clear. Perhaps existing state apparati will gradually be reduced to window-dressing as the substance is pulled out of them from above and below: i.e.both from the growth of international institutions, and from devolution to local and regional forms of self-governance. Perhaps government by media spectacle will devolve into spectacle pure and simple (somewhat along the lines of what Paul Lafargue, Marx’s West-Indian son-in-law and author of “The Right To Be Lazy“, implied when he suggested that after the revolution, politicians would still be able to fulfill a useful social function in the entertainment industry). More likely it will happen in ways we cannot even anticipate. But no doubt there are ways in which it is happening already. As Neoliberal states move towards new forms of feudalism, concentrating their guns increasingly around gated communities, insurrectionary spaces open up that we don’t even know about. Many would-be revolutionaries do not understand that there are times when the stupidest thing one could possibly do is raise a red or black flag and issue defiant declarations. Sometimes the sensible thing is just to pretend nothing has changed, allow official state representatives to keep their dignity, even show up at their offices and fill out a form now and then, but otherwise ignore them. –David Graber, “Fragments Of An Anarchist Anthropology”
” OOOOF. Imagine how different things would be if we employed en masse, engaged withdrawl, mass defection, slipped away from the grasp of the death cult that is Industrial Civilization… Formed our own local & regional self governing interdependent communities animated with what Bell Hooks describes as a “Love Ethic“… We could go out with a lot more Love, grace, humility and respect, couldn’t we?
There are glimmers of possibility though. A careful look around would reveal that much of what is described by Mr. Graeber is already happening at this moment. Nearly half of Americans opted out of Presidential Election spectacle/reality show, opposing the state by non-participation in that Kabuki Theater. Substance is being pulled out of state apparati from above and below in a variety of ways. People are finding ways to slip away from the grasp of states. Creating their own self-governed local communities, co-ops, etc, becoming less fearful of not living state-sanctioned lives at the mercy of clocks, bosses, schedules and other structures of domination. Hopefully, this trend will continue. “-OSJ
Written By Damian Carrington @ U.K. Guardian:
The world’s tallest animal is at risk of extinction after suffering a devastating decline in numbers, with nearly 40% of giraffes lost in the last 30 years, according to the latest “red list” analysis.
The authoritative list, compiled by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has also added more than 700 newly recognised bird species, but 13 of these are already extinct.
It says wild relatives of important food crops, such as mangoes and sunflowers, are now in danger of extinction, cutting the ability to safeguard food supplies by breeding new varieties resilient to drought and disease.
But there is a little hopeful news in the list as well with the rediscovery of a few species thought to have been lost, such a Madagascan freshwater fish which had not been seen since the 1960s, and the recovery of the Seychelles white-eye bird after conservation efforts.
The natural world is in the midst of a mass extinction as wild places are destroyed by conversion to farmland, mining and pollution, and animals are hunted in huge numbers. In October, a major analysis found the number of wild creatures was on track to fall by two-thirds by 2020, compared to 1970. Recent red list updates have found the eastern Gorilla and whale shark moving closer to extinction, while the prospects of the giant panda are improving.
The number of species assessed by the red list now totals more than 85,000, with more than 24,000 at risk of extinction, but many more species remain unstudied. “Many species are slipping away before we can even describe them,” said Inger Andersen, IUCN’s director general.
“This red list update shows that the scale of the global extinction crisis may be even greater than we thought,” she said. “Governments gathered at the UN biodiversity summit [at which the update will be presented on Thursday] have the immense responsibility to step up their efforts to protect our planet’s biodiversity – not just for its own sake but for human imperatives such as food security and sustainable development.”
The new red list found the giraffe population had plummeted from about 157,000 to 97,500 in the last 30 years and the species had jumped two IUCN categories from “least concern” to now “vulnerable”. As the human population in Africa rises, habitat loss from farming and deforestation, illegal hunting and the impact of civil wars are all pushing the creature towards extinction.
“Whilst giraffes are commonly seen on safari, in the media and in zoos, people – including conservationists – are unaware that these majestic animals are undergoing a silent extinction,” said Julian Fennessy, co-chair of the IUCN’s giraffe and okapi specialist group. “It is timely that we stick our neck out for the giraffe before it is too late,” he said.
Sir David Attenborough said in June: “These gentle giants have been overlooked. It’s well known that African elephants are in trouble and there are perhaps just under half a million left. But what no one realised is there are far fewer giraffes, which have already become extinct in seven countries.”
The updated red list also includes a reassessment of all bird species, bringing the number analysed to over 11,000. More than 700 of the species were newly recognised, including the Antioquia wren from Colombia which was listed as endangered because more than half of its habitat could be destroyed by a single planned dam.
Thirteen of the newly listed bird species are already extinct, including the Pagan reed warbler, having been wiped out by predators such as snakes introduced to their island homes. “As our knowledge deepens, so our concerns are confirmed: unsustainable agriculture, logging, invasive species and other threats – such as illegal trade – are still driving many species towards extinction,” said Ian Burfield, global science coordinator at BirdLife.
The African grey parrot is one of the species at grave risk from hunting as it is prized as a talkative and long-living pet. In some regions, numbers have plunged by 99% but all international trade in the bird was banned in October. The cage bird trade in Asia is also driving many feathered species towards extinction, including the spectacular sunset lorikeet.
However, conservation efforts are cutting the risk to some of the rarest birds on Earth, including the Seychelles white-eye, which was once thought to be extinct but now numbers about 500 thanks to reintroduction programmes.
The new red list includes, for the first time, assessments of 233 wild relatives of crop plants. It found many were threatened by the expansion of farms into wild areas. The wild relatives are a crucial source of genetic material for breeding new varieties that can withstand climate change and pests and which may be needed to help feed the world’s fast-growing population.
Mangoes are a vital crop around the tropics but scientists found four wild mango species are endangered – the Kalimantan mango has already become extinct. Also in trouble are wild relatives of the sunflower, such as the Anomalus sunflower, the chickpea and asparagus. “This only erodes future options for new crop resources under changing climates,” said Thomas Lacher Jr from Texas A&M University.
Separate new research lays bare the influence of humanity in transforming the planet, with scientists finding that over 50% of the world’s land area is now dominated by human activity, with 9% of this change happening in the last 25 years alone.
While 1.7m sq miles (4.4m sq km) of wild habitat was lost in the last 25 years, the researchers found that protected areas increased by 2.7m sq miles, almost doubling to cover 14% of all land.
But the protected areas are often not in the most vital regions, said James Watson of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Queensland. “Nations tend to place protected areas in remote locations, where nobody else is vying to convert the land. This does not help save threatened biodiversity and we must urgently start placing new protected areas in places that will be destroyed without conservation action.”