This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Non-Human Animals Are Declining in Number--Humans Are to Blame

The World Wildlife Federation and Zoological Society of London have just released the latest Living Planet Report (the 2016 version), and its conclusions are dismal, at best. The Independent has this headline: "World facing first mass extinction since the dinosaurs as wildlife populations plunge by 67 per cent in 50 years" and a very nice illustrative video to go with that. The BBC is a little more reserved in its coverage, but there is nothing encouraging here.
The figures suggest that animals living in lakes, rivers and wetlands are suffering the biggest losses. Human activity, including habitat loss, wildlife trade, pollution and climate change contributed to the declines.
Dr Mike Barrett. head of science and policy at WWF, said: "It's pretty clear under 'business as usual' we will see continued declines in these wildlife populations. But I think now we've reached a point where there isn't really any excuse to let this carry on. "We know what the causes are and we know the scale of the impact that humans are having on nature and on wildlife populations - it really is now down to us to act."
The BBC science writer notes that there are criticisms of the methods used in the report, since many parts of the world don't have good data on animal populations. But even taking those limits into account, the animal population is in decline, we are the cause, and this is not a good thing. 

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