Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money, and the Future of Life on Earth
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Optimistic that we can change this ominous forecast if we act now, Barnosky provides clear-cut strategies to guide the planet away from global catastrophe. In many instances the necessary technology and know-how already exist and are being applied to crucial issues around human-caused climate change, feeding the world’s growing population, and exploiting natural resources. Deeply informed yet accessibly written, Dodging Extinction is nothing short of a guidebook for saving the planet.
than first feeding the crops to livestock that we subsequently eat, we increase the world’s available caloric yield by about 23 percent and food production by about 13 percent.35 Does that mean we have to quit eating meat altogether? From my perspective, the answer is thankfully no. Raising cows to eat is a perfectly good use of most of the pastureland presently in production, as long as the right numbers of cows are run per acre. Much of that pastureland is in arid or otherwise poor crop-growing
of prehistoric humans to cause such carnage in big-animal populations, resulting in the extinction of about half of the big-bodied mammal species on Earth near the end of the Pleistocene.52 The other reason it’s easy for us to over-exploit fish species is that we tend to think in terms of kinds of fish, rather than species of fish. Tuna is a prime example, both of this principle and of moving from one prey species to the next. There are actually eight species of tuna, not just one. Of those, the
directions. Notable examples include a September 2013 agreement between the world’s eighth- and second-largest economies, California and China, respectively, to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop green technologies.62 Just about six weeks after the California-China memorandum of understanding was signed, the elected leaders of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia signed an agreement to battle climate change with concrete actions like facilitating solar and
population growth would slow so that world population would stabilize at ten billion people by the year 2050. 13. See note 8. 14. According to Steven J. Davis, Long Ca, Ken Caldeira, and Martin I. Hoffert, 2013, “Rethinking Wedges,” Environmental Research Letters 8(1):011001, doi:10.1088/1748, for the past decade we have been exceeding the emissions projected by the IPCC AR4 A2 scenario. The lower projection (8.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 4.8 degrees Celsius) comes from the IPCC AR5 RCP8.5 scenario.
Although not dinosaurs in the technical sense, mosasaurs were dinosaur sized. The largest were nearly sixty feet long, which means they’d hang over the edge of the eighteen-wheel semi trucks you see on the interstate, and they had lots of huge sharp teeth, features that have earned them the nickname “Tyrannosaurus rex of the sea.” In fact, their closest living relatives seem to be snakes (in contrast to the real T. rex, whose closest living relatives are birds), and instead of terrorizing their