Earth Now Has 8 Billion Humans. Les Knight Wishes There Were None. – The New York Times

Buckley interviewed Mr. Knight in Portland and was surprised to find him curiously uplifting.

PORTLAND, Ore. — For someone who wants his own species to go extinct, Les Knight is a remarkably happy-go-lucky human.

“He has regularly hosted meteor shower parties with rooftop fireworks. He organized a long-running game of nude croquet in his backyard, which, it should be mentioned, is ringed by 20-foot-tall laurel hedges. Even Tucker Carlson proved no match for Mr. Knight’s ebullience. During a 2005 interview with Mr. Knight on MSNBC, Mr. Carlson criticized him for espousing “the sickest” of beliefs but then added, “You are one of the cheeriest guests we’ve ever had.”

Mr. Knight, 75, is the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction movement, which is less a movement than a loose consortium of people who believe that the best thing humans can do to help the Earth is to stop having children.

Mr. Knight added the word “voluntary” decades ago to make it clear that adherents do not support mass murder or forced birth control, nor do they encourage suicide. Their ethos is echoed in their motto, “May we live long and die out,” and in another one of their slogans, which Mr. Knight hangs at various conventions and street fairs: “Thank you for not breeding.”

David Lindsay: I wrote a comment to the following comment:

Seriphussr
United States Of The Socialist Republic1h ago

“. . . . This is a good idea. I have four adult children. None of them have kids. The oldest two (40-ish) have decide not to have kids. The youngest two (early 20s) are still trying to figure out what it means to be an adult. While my wife and I would love to have grandchildren, I tend to agree with Mr. Knight. It’s time to start depopulating this planet. I don’t think we should ALL stop having children at once, but limit it to two or less. Not as a government mandate, but voluntarily. It took a long time to get to 8 billion. We’ve built civilizations on the idea of perpetual population growth. If everyone just stopped having children, civilizations would collapse. That would be awful for the survivors. But if we ramped down over centuries, we could eventually get down to a reasonable population. I’m not sure what amount is reasonable, but maybe something under a billion would be a good start.” . . . .

Reply:

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT   NYT Reply 

@Seriphussr Good comment, good thoughts. We went from 2 billion to 8 billion since about 1930, just 92 years. That is fast, since it took us 200,000 years to get to 1 billion. It took us about 300 years to get to 2 billion. I read that several scientists have agreed that the possible limit of humans on the planet for sustainablily and biodiversity might be 4 billion. My source might be Edward O Wilson or Elizabet Kolbert. EO Wilson calls us to set aside half the earths real estate for non human species to live in, and he co-founded the Half-Earth Foundation to promote this idea, as well as writing it up in his book Half Earth. \

David blogs at InconvenientNews.net

Reply7 Recommended

Somalia Braces for Famine, Trapped Between Al Shabab and Drought – The New York Times

Chief Africa correspondent Declan Walsh and photographer Andrea Bruce reported this article from Baidoa, Somalia, a city threatened by militants.

“The sea of rag-and-stick tents that spreads in every direction from the hungry, embattled city of Baidoa, in southern Somalia, gives way to sprawling plains controlled by the militants of Al Shabab.

Over 165,000 refugees have streamed into Baidoa since early last year, fleeing the ravages of Somalia’s fiercest drought in 40 years. Among them was Maryam, a 2-year-old girl whose family had lost everything.

The drought withered their crops, starved their animals and transformed their modest farm into a howling dust bowl. They endured a five-day trek to Baidoa, braving Islamist check posts, hoping to reach safety.

But one recent afternoon Maryam, weak from hunger and sickness, began to cough and vomit. Her mother, cradling Maryam in her arms, called for help.”

Somalia is on our minds. We watched a PBS NewsHour a few nights ago, and they showed an emaciated infant in somalia, looking far more dead than alive. We are tough old birds, but this was almost more than we could stomach. It definitely infringed on dinner. This article is more gentle, there are no such pictures. But Somalia is on our minds. Here are the top comments, which I endorsed:

Peter Johnson
London

Extreme weather is not the whole story for Somalia’s food shortages. The population has more than quadrupeled in the last fifty years (from 3.48 million to 16.6 million), and agricultural productivity cannot keep up.

4 Replies50 Recommended

joe
St Louis

Starvation in Africa was a staple of late night TV solicitations back when I was growing up in the 70’s. 50 years later nothing has changed. Tribal warfare, a population that can’t feed itself, and not using birth control are not going to be made any better by charity. If people want change than something fundamental needs to change.

Reply34 Recommended

Silas Campbell
Paris, Kentucky

Completely omitted from this article is the fact that the number of people in Somalia has grown from about 2 million in 1950 to about 17 million now, i.e. there are over 8 times as many Somalis as in 1950. Could it possibly be that this exponential rise in the number of people needing resources has anything to do with the famine ?

Reply28 Recommended

mushmouth
Jacksonville

what these poor people need is systematic and free birth control. and then classes on how to use it. why would you bring children into a famine situation?

Reply27 Recommended

(692) Queen of The Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? (Trailer) – YouTube

David Lindsay

oedpSrtsno6027f8fcamuli4ml042t5g11t5gmhga57a6m52ht4311g672h3  · YouTube  · 

Shared with Public

Public

I learned about this film about international bee colony collapse, from my new FB friend Tim Mack’s page. I haven’t seen the whole film yet, but the trailer is horrible, I mean fantastic,

oh Blah and Fiddlesticks, I mean, bad news well presented.

The Ghost Wolves of Galveston Island – The New York Times

“From a distance, the canids of Galveston Island, Texas, look almost like coyotes, prowling around the beach at night, eyes gleaming in the dark.

But look closer and oddities appear. The animals’ bodies seem slightly out of proportion, with overly long legs, unusually broad heads and sharply pointed snouts. And then there is their fur, distinctly reddish in hue, with white patches on their muzzles.

The Galveston Island canids are not conventional coyotes — at least, not entirely. They carry a ghostly genetic legacy: DNA from red wolves, which were declared extinct in the wild in 1980.

For years, these genes have been hiding in plain sight, tucked away in the seemingly unremarkable animals that scavenged for food behind housing developments and roamed the grounds of the local airport.”

Vaquitas Could Soon Be Extinct. Mexico Will Largely Determine Their Fate. – The New York Times

Catrin Einhorn and 

Ms. Einhorn is the Times’s biodiversity reporter. Mr. Ramos, a freelance photojournalist, reported from San Felipe, Mexico.

“As scientists planned an expedition in Mexico this fall to count one of the world’s most endangered animals, a shy porpoise called a vaquita, they dreaded the possibility that there would be none left to find. The last survey, in 2019, estimated that only about 10 remained.

At the same time, fishermen in the area were preparing to set out with the illegal nets that scientists say are driving the porpoises to extinction: walls of mesh that hang upright below the surface, up to 20 feet deep and stretching the length of several football fields.

Called gill nets, they trap shrimp and fish. They also entangle vaquitas, drowning the mammals. Researchers say the nets are the only known cause for the species’ catastrophic decline, but getting rid of them has turned out to be a challenge.

Amid a global biodiversity crisis, with an estimated million species threatened with extinction, the story of the vaquita shows how even obvious solutions — in this case, putting a stop to illegal fishing — require political will, enforcement and deep engagement with local communities to meet the needs of both people and animals.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Thank you Catrin Einhorn and the NYT, even though you have disturbed my “wa,” or peacefully harmony. I was not aware of this tragedy, about losing the magnificent vaquitas, and I would like the United States to step up and do what ever it takes, to protect them. I’m not sure what is the best way to convince the Mexican government to protect this dying species, but a ban in the US of all Mexican sea food would probably get their immediate attention. I hope to read more, soon, about what pressures could realistically be brought to bear in this situation, which is so immediately dire.
Perhaps the Mexican and US government will have to start paying these same illegal fishermen, stipends or salaries, to protect the rare porpoises that they are driving quickly to extinction.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Protected Too Late: U.S. Officials Report More Than 20 Extinctions – The New York Times

Video

Cinemagraph
Ivory-billed woodpeckers filmed in in Louisiana in 1935, when the birds were already rare. Despite pleas from conservationists and wildlife officials, the area was later logged by the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company.CreditCredit…Arthur A. Allen/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornitholog

“The ivory-billed woodpecker, which birders have been seeking in the bayous of Arkansas, is gone forever, according to federal officials. So is the Bachman’s warbler, a yellow-breasted songbird that once migrated between the Southeastern United States and Cuba. The song of the Kauai O’o, a Hawaiian forest bird, exists only on recordings. And there is no longer any hope for several types of freshwater mussels that once filtered streams and rivers from Georgia to Illinois.

In all, 22 animals and one plant should be declared extinct and removed from the endangered species list, federal wildlife officials announced on Wednesday.

The announcement could also offer a glimpse of the future. It comes amid a worsening global biodiversity crisis that threatens a million species with extinction, many within decades. Human activities like farming, logging, mining and damming take habitat from animals and pollute much of what’s left. People poach and overfish. Climate change adds new peril.

“Each of these 23 species represents a permanent loss to our nation’s natural heritage and to global biodiversity,” said Bridget Fahey, who oversees species classification for the Fish and Wildlife Service. “And it’s a sobering reminder that extinction is a consequence of human-caused environmental change.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment
Sad but true. Thank you Catrin Einhorn and the NYT for this report. I recommend the booklet, “Half Earth,” by the famous etymologist Edward O Wilson, retired from Harvard. He and his associates around the world see us possibly losing 80% of the world’s species in the next 80 years. ( He talks mostly in ranges, like in 50 to 100 years) He predicts that if we lose 50% of the world’s species, the human species will not survive, because of dependencies that exist, but are not yet all understood. The message of the Half Earth Foundation and movement, is their strong sense that we need to preserve half the of the world’s area for non human species, to allow them to survive, and to guarantee our own survival. David Lindsay blogs at InconvenientNews.Net, and is writing a book on climate change and the sixth extinction.

Margaret Renkl | This ‘Shazam’ for Birds Could Help Save Them – The New York Times

Ms. Renkl is a contributing Opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South.

“NASHVILLE — I spent my entire childhood playing in the woods and meadows of rural Alabama. The world back then was lush and green: cooled by creeks, carpeted by pine needles, attended by birdsong. In those days there were nearly three billion more birds in North America than there are today, and my young days played out beneath the sound of their music.

The staggering loss of birds — nearly a third of them since 1970 — is due to human behavior: to climate change, to deforestation and ecosystem fragmentation, to insecticides and free-roaming pets, to light pollution in our skies and microplastics in our waterways, to glass-encased skyscrapers protruding into migratory flyways, among other choices that favor our own convenience over the lives of our wild neighbors.

I can’t help but wonder how much of the blame lies, too, in indifference, our failure even to notice what we’ve lost. Birds can be secretive creatures, staying high in the treetops or deep in the underbrush. Even those in plain sight often move startlingly quickly, appearing as hardly more than a flash of color, a blur of wings. Except for the background sound of birdsong, many people are never aware of how many birds — or how few — they share the world with.

Apps like iNaturalist from National Geographic and the California Academy of Sciences help to close that gap, functioning as both electronic field guides and vast data-collection devices. They learn as we learn, improving with every photo and map pin we upload, helping experts understand a planet undergoing profound change. But what of the vast number of birds we never see, those we only hear? To offer that feature — one that accurately and consistently recognizes birds by sound alone — would be the birding equivalent of finding the Holy Grail.”

She describes just such an app. “Last month, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology released an updated version of its Merlin Bird ID app, which allows users to identify birds by song.”

Jill Filipovic | Women Are Having Fewer Babies Because They Have More Choices – The New York Times

Ms. Filipovic is a journalist and lawyer whose work focuses on gender and politics. She is the author of “OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind” and “The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness.”

“American women are having fewer children and having them later than ever before — a demographic shift being met with significant consternation from the left and right alike.

For conservatives, the fact that more women are putting off parenthood or forgoing it entirely is evidence of a dangerous decline in traditional family values. In this framing, women have been manipulated into putting their educational and professional aspirations ahead of motherhood, contributing to a broader cultural breakdown.

Liberals make the (better) case that birth declines are clearly tied to policy, with potential mothers deterred by the lack of affordable child care and the absence of universal health care, adequate paid parental leave and other basic support systems. Couple that with skyrocketing housing prices, high rates of student loan debt and stagnant wages and it’s no surprise that so many women say: “Children? In this economy?” “

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT comment:

Lovely essay, but also disappointing. We now have 7,7 billion humans, up from 2 billion in 1930. We are destroying the planet with pollution and over consumption. We face climate change, and rapid species extintion, so remarkable, that the scientist say we are living through the 6th extinction. It breaks my heart to realize that most Americans are ignorant of these threats and atrocities. Some women, but not enough, are having fewer children, because they are aware of these grave and serious problems.

David Lindsay Jr is the author of the Tay Son Rebellion about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net. He is currently writing a book about his concert on climate change and the sixth extinction.

Bald eagles attack loons, but that’s not why loons are struggling – Granite Geek

“Bald eagles, as I’m sure you know, are making quite the comeback in New Hampshire (along with much of North America). New Hampshire Audubon and the Loon Preservation Committee wondered what effect this large fish-eating predator was having on another iconic fish-eating bird, the loon.

The answer, they say, is “not much”.

The team looked for evidence of predation attempts by an increasing eagle population, and whether this was limiting how successful loons are at raising young or if eagles provoked changes in where loons nest. The scientists found that eagle nest proximity may be contributing to about 3% of observed loon nest failures, but that this pressure does not account for local declines in loon abundance. Loons face a wide range of other simultaneous threats, including mortality from lead tackle poisoning, avian malaria, and entanglement in monofilament fishing line.

“We confirmed that eagles have joined a wide range of stressors currently impacting loons in New Hampshire,” said Loon Preservation Committee Senior Biologist John Cooley. “This result is great motivation to keep reducing the impacts caused by humans, like lead tackle poisoning, so that eventually the primary challenge for nesting loons can once again be natural predators like eagles.”

Source: Bald eagles attack loons, but that’s not why loons are struggling – Granite Geek

Protected Habitat, for a Population of One – The New York Times

“PROTECTION ISLAND, Wash. — From their perch atop a dead tree on the edge of a cliff, a pair of bald eagles enjoyed a panoramic view of a small island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, off the coast of Washington State. Far below, seated on a bench surrounded by tall, swaying grasses, the island’s lone human resident, Marty Bluewater, watched them through binoculars.

For the past 50 years, Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge has been his touchstone. He has accumulated a lifetime of memories here, welcoming six deer who swam over from the mainland and have grown to a small herd, hosting five pairs of nesting swallows in his eaves every spring, and celebrating two weddings — one his own.”

DL:  Eagles are advancing, at the expense of other bird species now, since fish are in steep decline.