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CNN Covers Very Important Story

My compliments today go out to CNN and CNN Opinion columnist John D. Sutter. It’s not every day we see such complete, candid reporting or commentary as that found in

How to Stop the Sixth Mass Extinction

This is part of a CNN series called Vanishing, which I wish I’d been drawing attention to all year. It’s an important series of stories and videos you can share with your blissfully unaware friends and colleagues.

In truth, this is THE STORY of the century, as it’s really about the conditions that will lead to the extinction of human civilization as we know it. In this installment (perhaps the most important) John gets our attention right off the bat.

“The Earth is on the verge of a mass extinction event. To understand how big of a deal that is you don’t have to look much further than the definition of “mass extinction.” It means that three-quarters of all species vanish — forever. In all of history, that’s happened only five times. The sixth extinction would be the first caused by humans.”

But here’s the important part:

“I’ve been reporting on the coming extinction crisis this year for a CNN series called “Vanishing.” And I can tell you that while this topic is enormously depressing, there is some good news: We know how to slow or hopefully stop the sixth extinction. Anthony Barnosky, another extinction expert, also from Stanford, told me humans have at most 20 years to make sweeping changes about our relationship with nature. If we do that, he said, we can avoid the sixth extinction. But here’s what needs to happen, according to the experts.”

Sutton goes on to list 5 things we should do. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. The remarkable thing about the list is that it does include doing something about human population growth. That is too seldom mentioned, and often is mentioned as a cause of problems but not considered something we can alter.

Here are a few recommendations for Mr. Sutton:

  1. SLOWING human population growth really needs to be REVERSING the expansion. All the good behavior in the world will not make a human population expanding beyond its current 7.4 billion into a benign event, when it should have stopped at 2 billion.
  2. Abandoning economic growth as a universal public policy goal needs to be on this list. Sutton gives some lip service to individual conservation behavior, which is important, but is not enough as long as our system and governments chase endless economic growth. Economic growth requires individuals NOT to conserve, and is therefore not consistent with true conservation of the natural world.

So, imperfect as it is, it is still wonderful to see mainstream media like CNN offering this important information. Thank you!


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Dave Gardner

Producer of the documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth. Dave writes and speaks regularly on the subject of growth addiction, including the pro-growth media bias that perpetuates prosperity-from-growth mythology.

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