Overall, humans have direct effects on most of the Earth’s surface: globally, human activities affect ~83% of the land (Sanderson et al. 2002) and 100 % of the ocean, with ~41 % being strongly affected (Halpern et al. 2008). As a result of our appropriation of resources and more direct impacts, an increasing num- ber of species is threatened by extinction (Baillie et al. 2004, Hails 2008, Secretariat of the Convention on Bio- logical Diversity 2010). This loss is occurring in spite of the goods and services that biodiversity provides to humankind, valued in the order of a few trillion dollars annually (e.g. Costanza et al. 1997; the United Nations Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity project [www.teebweb.org], the United Nations – backed Prin- ciples for Responsible Investment project [www.unpri. org]). In addition, several studies indicate that main- taining biodiversity is much simpler than restoring it and that, depending on the nature and extent of our impacts, some damaged ecosystems might never return to their original states, meaning that any imper- ilment or loss could be permanent (Scheffer & Carpen- ter 2003). In the face of ongoing biodiversity loss, the recognized value of biodiversity and the need for steps to maintain or restore it have prompted a renewed effort to develop safeguarding strategies. ( Mora, Sale ).While the statistics of the documented shrinkage of biodiversity are probably not arguable enough to change the conclusion, we might agree that the underlying complexity of the shrinkage in terms of past, present and future is probably of greater value to understand than is arguing over blame or is fighting over whether we should even care about earthly creatures, including ourselves. Some people think we shouldn't. The earth, they argue will take care of itself. I disagree. Not with the notion but with the attitude, which seems to be a red herring for "I need not take any responsibility for what happens to the planet.
Regardless of which debate takes the lead on this and confuses out the other debates, 1/4 of the earth's mammals are threatened with extinction (Conservation International).
Shrinking Diversity in Economic Culture
One could say that the documented shrinkage of economic diversity (global cost of oil or credit, for example--or general wages) is probably not arguable enough to change the conclusion, yet we might agree that the meaning of the shrinkage in terms of past, present and future is probably of greater value than is arguing over blame or is fighting over whether we should even care about the economic differences that determine a person's survival, or kind of survival, in the culture. Some people think we shouldn't. Some people think we have enough diversity to keep us busy in choosing which clothes to wear or which TV show to watch or which market to shop at. They argue that too much diversity is a pain in the ass.
So what exactly has gone extinct in our Think In the Now While Accumulating Speed and Money Era? Maybe it's better not to know. Maybe it's better to remain culturally deaf and dumb on this issue.
Our Role as Citizens
As mutes, along with prayer, I suggest we race one another to any bank as a Monday and Friday exercise. On Tuesdays, we should race one another to a government building. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, we should race one another to a corporate office. These should be our only civic obligations. Other than praying and racing, we should work at as many jobs as possible to accumulate as much money as we can. These activities, while not particularly diverse in themselves, can be made diverse. We can alter routes, for example. Change buildings. Change times. Wear different shoes. The options to choose from are plentiful. We can write up the names of the contestants on different colored or textured paper. That in itself can get us through a year. Moreover, we can leave Saturday and Sunday open for praying that our government, banks and corporations keep their distance from the minus signs with red numbers. Here too we can create diversity. We can change sites for prayers. We can change the words. We can change the prayer leaders. Thus, we can change the very nature of diversity and save ourselves from extinction unlike the other creatures on the planet who haven't a clue, it seems, to figure out their own diversity plan if the original one isn't working for them. Some argue that these extinct creatures were just not strong enough. Or they say those on the brink of extinction are genetically disadvantaged.
Racing and praying (and working) of course take nothing away from shopping, which still remains our number 1 civic activity in contributing to the maintenance of diversity within our current institutions.
Think In the Now While Accumulating Speed and Money Era
The Think In the Now while Accumulating Speed and Money Era is the pinnacle height of the me first no matter what thread of civilization woven to its heights and reached by corporate capitalism as a global phenomenon. We created it. Now we have to maintain it, diaper it, clean its ass, and give it billions of gallons of milk (money and labor) to sustain it. If we choose not to, we can probably find a river to drown it or a cancer looking for a host. We can expect to be ferreted out by a roaming clean-up crew. We can expect to spend much of our time looking over our shoulder.
On the positive side, the shrinkage in biodiversity may work toward our advantage. It will be less of the unpredictable, which might mean less surveillance on the rest of us, less turning our heads to look over our shoulder, which could result in less doctor visits for wear and tear on the neck or blood pressure.