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Posted by: atowhee | November 7, 2018

ONWARD INTO…OBLIVION?

Chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall accuses our species of destroying life on the planet.

A UN report says if we don’t save other animals, we are destroying our own species’ future.

I have just finished a fine book on the large seabirds–albatross to auks.  It is The Seabird’s Cry, by Adam Nicolson.  His closing chapter presents some hope:
“This is a resetting of life,.  The fossils will be different in the future.  And in this enormous process, which we are now in the midst of, there will be winners and losers.  Many bird lineages–early gulls, albatrosses, shearwaters, cormorants and penguins–survived the mass extinction 66 million years ago when three-quarters of all life disappeared, including most of plankton.”

Nicolson has some hope that our current seabirds have the genetic capacity to adapt.  Many species in the oceans are already being pushed toward the poles as fish and plankton populations shift or die off in warmer waters.

The most tragic fact I learned in this book…small predators release dimethyl sulphide when they attack plankton.  The seabirds can smell that gas from miles and gather for feeding.  Then, comes the kicker… the waste plastic we strew about the planet, gets into the ocean…and then it starts to decompose…releasing…of course, dimethyl sulphide.  So the seabirds gather and swallow the tasty smelling plastic.  Another huge victory for deregulated oil and plastic industry.  I am just waiting to see the free enterprise system rise up and save our seabirds…not.

Nicholson, BTW, is grandson of the Harold Nicholson, along with his wife Vita Sackville-West, who created the splendid gardens at Sissinghurst.

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