Overconsumption of the world’s natural resources is unsustainably cutting into its ecological “capital,” revered British naturalist David Attenborough warned Thursday.
“Financial systems have a lot in common with natural world systems. Both are economies,” Attenborough said Thursday during the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
“If you deal with your investment… it’s fine if you can take the profit, you take the investment, but you wouldn’t be so silly as to eat into the capital. But that is what we’re doing with the natural world all the time.”
The BAFTA winner and long-time presenter of BBC wildlife documentaries spoke with IMF chief Christine Lagarde.
He said human beings and their domesticated animals now accounted for 96 percent of the global mass of all mammals.
“We’ve eliminated the rest,” he said. “Seventy percent of all bird species have gone. We are in terrible, terrible trouble.”
“I find it difficult to exaggerate the peril that we are in. We are in the process of a new fresh extinction which we know all about from geological time,” said Attenborough.
“This is the new extinction — and we’re halfway through it.”
Early colonists in North America did not understand how their consumption of one species affected populations of others, he added.
He pointed to the hunting of sea otters for their fur, which increased populations of sea urchins that had been preyed upon by the otters. The urchins then consumed more kelp, reducing spawning grounds for fish, which had previously been a great source of wealth, said Attenborough.
“When you remove the kelp forests the fish could no longer survive,” said Attenborough. “When you did realize it you could deal with it but it requires understanding.”
He also warned the time had long since come to deal with climate change.
“The rate at which the climate is changing and warming, unless we act on the Paris Agreement to restrict that, we’re going to be in real trouble,” he said.
“Otherwise, if we just go on thinking this is going to be fine, we are going to be heading for major catastrophes. No doubt about that.”
‘Malignant’ GOP voters will keep backing ‘dumber and angrier’ candidates no matter what happens in November: Conservative
Even if the Republican Party suffers crippling losses in November's election, that won't solve the problem of the "malignant Republican voter."
President Donald Trump's conservative opponents have been publicly debating whether the GOP deserves to survive, but The Week columnist Damon Linker says reducing the party to cinders and ash won't root out the party's rotten core.
"The head of the party is a corrupt and malicious imbecile," Linker wrote. "Republicans in Congress are a mix of Trump enablers, obstructionist-demagogues out to maximize the wealth of their donors, know-nothing conspiracist loons, and a few reformers experimenting with the most politically palatable way to blend nationalism with socialism. All of them are primarily motivated by the drive toward self-promotion within the right-wing media complex. And when we move further down the Republican hierarchy to the state and local level, things only get worse."
Another government watchdog resigns — months after Trump fired the old one: report
On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that the State Department inspector general is resigning — just four months after Trump brought him on to replace the one he previously fired.
"Stephen Akard’s departure, which will be effective Friday, was announced to staff by his deputy, Diana R. Shaw, who told colleagues she would temporarily become the acting inspector general in his stead," reported John Hudson.
Trump has now predicted COVID will ‘go away’ in each of the last seven months
President Donald Trump on Wednesday told "Fox & Friends" that the novel coronavirus "will go away, like things go away."
As Democratic political operative Daniel Wessel notes on Twitter, this is not the first time the president has made bold declarations about the virus disappearing.
Back in February, Trump said the virus "miraculously goes away," then said in March that "it'll go away," and then in April declared that "it's going away."