Another dodgy Earth Day ploy hyping flawed and failed “species extinction” propaganda

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin

The latest 2019 Earth Day event, the 50th since the first such propaganda event started in 1970, has the proclaimed theme of “Protect Our Species” and offers the usual and often repeated litany of species mass extinction alarmist exaggeration including:

“human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity.”

“Our planet is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals—the sixth wave of extinctions in the past half-billion years. We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day. It could be a scary future indeed, with as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century.”

Going back to the first 1970 Earth Day species endangerment claims finds the following repeat of the purely speculative species extinction alarmist exaggeration doom and gloom that occurred nearly 50 years prior but now proven to be flawed and failed and characterized as:

Even more idiotically alarming was the claim that “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” There were many other totally ridiculous alarmist assertions contained in the Earth Day themes of 1970 that proved completely wrong and demonstrate the lack of any credibility in this politically contrived scheme.

The species extinction assessment process has evolved over the last 50 years with results that claims of global species extinction have been shown to be scientifically unsupportable and just plain wrong.

“The extinction vulnerability of a particular species might help to draw public attention to a damaged ecosystem, and in the US it could trigger protection mechanisms of the Endangered Species Act, but in most cases it is at best an indirect sign of what is going wrong.”

“Part of the problem is in the way we classify degrees of endangerment. The Red List categories read, in order: extinct; extinct in the wild; critically endangered; endangered; vulnerable (that goes for Atlantic cod); near-threatened; and least concern. ‘Least concern’ is strange language. What it means is ‘doing fine’. It applies to most of the 76,000 species researched by the IUCN, most of the 1.5 million species so far discovered, and most of the estimated 4 million or so species yet to be discovered. In the medical analogy, labelling a healthy species as ‘least concern’ is like labelling every healthy person ‘not dead yet’. It’s true, but what a way to think. (The IUCN is aware of the problem, and to its great credit is developing a ‘Green List’ that will report on species whose situation is improving. It will categorise according to degrees of hope, for a change, instead of relying solely on degrees of dread.)”

“Of the several million species yet to be discovered, there is a reasonable argument that many are very rare and thus extra-vulnerable to extinction, but the common statement that ‘Species are going extinct faster than we can discover them’ does not hold up to scrutiny. According to the paper in Science ‘Can We Name Earth’s Species Before They Go Extinct?’ (2013) by the marine ecologist Mark J Costello at the University of Auckland and colleagues, the rate of documenting new species was 17,500 a year over the past decade, rising above 18,000 a year since 2006. There are ever more professional taxonomists (currently about 47,000) doing the work, along with burgeoning crowds of amateur taxonomists newly enabled by the internet.

“With a realistic current extinction rate of less than 1 per cent of species per decade and a discovery rate of something like 3 per cent a decade, the authors conclude: ‘the rate of species description greatly outpaces extinction rates’.”

“Consider the language of these news headlines: ‘Fueling Extinction: Obama Budget Is Killer For Endangered Species’ (Huffington Post, February 2015). ‘“Racing Extinction” Sounds Alarm On Ocean’s Endangered Creatures’ (NBC News, January 2015). ‘“Extinction Crisis”: 21,000 Of World’s Species At Risk Of Disappearing (Common Dreams, July 2013). ‘Australian Mammals On Brink Of “Extinction Calamity”’ (BBC, February 2015). ‘The Sixth Extinction Is Here – And It’s Our Fault (Re/code, July 2014). The headlines are not just inaccurate.”

“No end of specific wildlife problems remain to be solved, but describing them too often as extinction crises has led to a general panic that nature is extremely fragile or already hopelessly broken. That is not remotely the case.”

“Many now assume that we are in the midst of a human-caused ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ to rival the one that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. But we’re not.”

“The fossil record shows that biodiversity in the world has been increasing dramatically for 200 million years and is likely to continue.”

The article contains an excellent graph presenting a more rationale assessment of species diversity and health than that proclaimed by Earth Day political proponents.

As usual the long established track record of flawed and failed Earth Day scientifically unsupported alarmist claims and exaggerations is clearly reflected in this most recent event of purely politically driven propaganda pronouncements.

73 thoughts on “Another dodgy Earth Day ploy hyping flawed and failed “species extinction” propaganda

    • At 5 per year and 10,000 times as fast, that would equate to 50,000 per year or 139 per day or around 5.7 per hpur or 1 every 10 minutes.
      So exactly which species will go extinct in the enxt 10 minutes and which 60 species have gone extinct since midnight??

    • Sadly, stupidity is not a species nor constrained to any species in particular. The natural environment is simply far less forgiving and quickly culls the idiots from the ranks.

    • “Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day.”

      Hogwash. I have said this before and I will continue to hammer it out: NAME THOSE SPECIES NOW GOING EXTINCT. I want a list, a real-world list, of those going extinct NOW.

      And while I”m at it, please do NOT include that inbred rodent on a small island off the coast of Australia. Until you get rid of the other imports in Australia, like RABBITS, it is baloney. All of it.

      I feel much better now. Thanks for listening. 🙂

      • A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but a rat by another name is a whole new species.

        ~¿~

      • And while you’re compiling Sara’s list, please also send me one that shows the name of each and every NGO that’s pitching this hysterical nonsense. I’d like to know, so I can tell my friends and relatives to stop writing donation checks to Each. And. Every. ONE. of them!

        Shut off the flow of funds to liars who shout “Fire!” in the crowded theater of Planet Earth, and we’d have plenty of money left over for real-world solutions to actual problems.

      • @ Sara

        Most of the species being lost are either undescribed or poorly known. A lot of them are small black beetles of no consequence to most, & are found in rainforests. The number of species itself is also poorly known. It’s inferred by the number of undescribed species collected in samples (e.g. when they smoke insects out of the canopy and collect them in upturned umbrella-type devices).

        You can infer species losses indirectly too by estimates of diversity, distribution, & deforestation. All of this would be ball park only, & I don’t see any of it due to the original culprit, CO2.

        Do not expect names of lost species that even taxonomists are unaware of – the number of well-known species that have been lost recently is much lower than the apocalyptic estimates.

  1. The idea that every living species currently on Earth has some sort of “right” to exist forever is ridiculous. Species extinction is an intrinsic part of nature.

    • …mostly driven by climate change

      People that believe in evolution fight the hardest to prevent it

    • I’m kinda good with the idea that I can make it to the subway every day without having to deal with a sabre-toothed cat. Might be nice in a zoo, or on an island far, far away, but otherwise…

      As an old joke goes, what happens if you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

    • I love the chutzpah behind the statement that “we lost the dinosaurs”. Really? just who is this ‘we’ that lives a few hundred thousand years?

      • Check down the back of the sofa, or behind the fridge. That’s where I usually lose things…

      • Whadaya mean “We lost the dinosaurs?” There are lots of them still around.

        Hint: They taste a lot like chicken. 😉 😉

    • The same is true of grizzly bears in Montana. A niece of ours and her husband recently stayed with us for a couple of days. They live in western Montana, and the only meat they consume is deer that they hunt and elk shot by neighbors. Grizzly bears were endangered in Montana at one point, and hunting restrictions were enacted. They worked so well that today several grizzly attacks on humans are reported annually.

      Conservationists have tagged numerous grizzlies with telemetry units that include GPS locators. Many hunters in Montana carry similar devices. The conservationists have found that the grizzlies follow the hunters around, staying within 100 yards, but completely out of sight. When they hear a gunshot, it’s the dinner bell – the grizzly will come in to appropriate the kill. Hunters have to go in at least pairs, and be in radio contact with one another if they become separated.

      Wolves have become a similar problem, though they wouldn’t worry me as much as grizzly would.

      • Here in Toronto, its coyotes. There is a den half a block from where I live, and I’ve seen a dozen or so, all in a heavily built up urban core.

  2. Dozens of species going extinct each day they say, but they can’t name one.

    Mass extinctions are characterized by the number of Families that go extinct, not imaginary species that may or may not exist.

  3. Given the claimed mass extinction rates one suppose it would be visible to the casual eye, especially around bird feeders. But instead it’s happening elsewhere or in people’s minds. I have followed the environmental movement since the early 1970s and only three species have gone extinct in that timeframe that I am aware of. And I have a great interest in these things.

    • I just assumed that all the missing extinctions happened in the deep ocean.

      Killed of by the missing heat, obviously.

      <¿<

  4. One of the UK’s cabinet ministers is not so enchanted by Greta the preindustrial little ice (age) princess
    “Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, has been accused of legitimising climate change denial. He was criticised by Labour and the Lib Dems after he released a statement implying that scepticism about climate change being driven by man-made carbon emissions might be justified. Subsequently he said that he “respects” the scientific consensus on climate change. But his office was unable to confirm that he agreed with it.”
    Meanwhile, n the other end of ‘vita brevis’ spectrum:
    ‘Phil Kingston, 83, a seasoned climate activist, brought protest banners and a packed lunch to climb on top of a Docklands Light Railway train at Canary Wharf station with three other activists shortly after 7am. Mr Kingston was one of Extinction Rebellion’s first members and previously chained himself to a pipe at Oxford Circus”
    There’s no fool like an old fool.

      • Presumably 7 years of training as a Dr of medicine followed by some years as a practicing GP has equipped him with the ability required for the essential of minimum logical reasoning, a very rare quality in a english common garden politician.

    • I remember when some similar lunatic locked himself to a fence protesting the delivery of something or the other.

      Company just opened up another gate and proceeded with business as usual, ignoring both the protester…and his demand to be removed from the bike lock.

      “Not our job, -hole” was the reply…

    • Subsequently he said that he “respects” the scientific consensus on climate change.

      So now we know he doesn’t have a clue about these issues.
      It is never good when a person claims to be skeptical and then says something stupid.

    • Is Mr. Kingston able to identify by sight any of the myriad species of waterfowl that inhabit the British Isles?

      I spent the weekend getting a huge mass of photos of the local fishing lake and a couple of big wetland ponds. I counted 24 Canada geese already paired up, half a dozen mallards, about 18 pairs of redbreasted mergansers, a couple of pairs of buffelheads, not to mention a mated pair of white-breasted nuthatches and brown treecreepers on two trees next door to each other. This doesn’t include the flood of redwings, male and female, coming to my feeding station, or the grackle pairs, or the various sparrows.

      I doubt sincerely that Mr. Kingston could even identify one single bird of any kind whatsoever. But chaining himself to a train and making a complete fool of himself in public is okay, right? He can be a self-righteous bimp all he wants to, but he has nothing to show but his own foolish behavior.

      If that sounds like I’m a bit angry, well – I am. I will get up at 5AM to go get bird photos while he’s probably pounding his ears in his little bed.

  5. Stewart Brand was the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, a student of Dr. Paul Ehrlich, a noted environmentalist, and a promoter of the eco-catastrophe theme in the 1970s. He was, as I recall, involved with the demonstrations on the original Earth Day.

    He published some of the first articles I saw on Global Cooling. Later he switched to Global Warming and he is still concerned about that, though not as apocalyptically as his earlier enthusiasms.

    However, he is also open-minded and contrarian. These days he calls himself an eco-pragmatist, which is to say he is still motivated by environmentalism, but not in a counter-productive, hysterical manner. For instance, as in the article extensively quoted above. He also is a firm proponent of nuclear power and of humans living in cities for environmental protection.

    Anyway he’s an interesting guy whom skeptics might want to know about and perhaps make some common cause with.

    • Not bad, except for this part….
      ”The scientists are ethicalistic, rebellious against any perceived dominant paradigm, and combative against each other. For them, admitting mistakes is what science is.”

      Does not seem to fit with the current crop of climate scientists. Whether we can seriously attach the title of ”scientists” to them is of course arguable.

      • Well, the article was published in 2005, a year before Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” and four years before “Climategate” (the CRU emails). I’m not sure what Stewart Brand makes of climate scientists these days.

        However, unlike many in the environmentalist movement Stewart Brand remains open-minded, admits his mistakes and changes his position in light of new information. He stands as one of the most honest figures remaining from the sixties and seventies.

        To wit, WUWT is here quoting Stewart Brand for a skeptic argument against Earth Day, even though he was a prominent supporter of Earth Day and everything Earth Day stood for in its heyday.

  6. “human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature” There is no balance of nature, it’s survival of the fittest, the essence of evolution..

  7. Way back in high school in the 80s, we were forced to read books like “The Fate of the Earth” and “Entropy” and watch “The Day After”, not to be confused with “The Day After Tomorrow”, i.e., DAFT.

    However, my teachers, despite their left-wing leanings, were actually of the open-minded variety (talk about being extinct), so they encouraged dialogue and challenging them.

    So, we had a school-wide debate where one side took the We’re All Gonna Die Soon (and Horribly) view, and I was on the “Hold On…” part.

    I asked my opponents “Before we discuss how many species are at risk, how many species ARE there?”, and brought up that one can’t have an accurate % without an accurate denominator.

    One opponent said 1 million, another 10 million (or something…it was the 80s and the details are smoky).

    I pointed out that such a range meant that we didn’t actually know anything, won the debate and a nice congratulations from my math teacher. Although this did start my long movement from “believe everything Big Green says” to “check the math yourself”.

    • “I asked my opponents “Before we discuss how many species are at risk, how many species ARE there?”, and brought up that one can’t have an accurate % without an accurate denominator.”

      Excellent question. Asking an Eco-warrior that always results in an uncomfortable silence.

  8. ‘human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature’

    Wut? Nature? Balanced? Don’t be ridiculous.

    • Technically true, though.

      Its balanced between tasty animals, and those that like to eat them.

  9. What do you call it when a dinosaur has a car accident?

    Tyrannosaurus WRECKS

  10. One of my favourites…

    “By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people…If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” — Dr. Paul Ehrlich, speech at the British Institute for Biology, Sep. 1971

    Yet here we still are in Brexitland

    • Until Brexit happens, one can argue that England is a protectorate
      of the EU, and thus does not exist as it did in 1971.

      • Post devolution only immigrants refer to themselves as British. We are back to being Scots, Welsh etc.

        England is no protectorate of the EU, it isn’t even a protectorate of the UK. It’s despised and the only nation without its own Parliament. And they’ll never give it one.

  11. I at least saw one of the extinction related articles that, while of course repeating much flawed rhetoric, had the courage to cite biofuel agriculture as a factor driving loss of habitat and biodiversity. This is widely evident in the Nebraska Sandhills where the ethanol mandate has led to vast tracts of unplowed prairie land being churned up for planting non edible corn. This activity destroys delicate prairiegrass ecosystems, reduces biodiversity, contributes to the mining of the Ogalla aquifer for irrigation at a rate much faster than it is being replenished, and consumes large quantities of fertilizer and pesticides.

    Don’t get me wrong, modern agriculture is a miracle but it is an industrial manufacturing process that should be used for feeding people not making inefficient fuel.

    That article also noted that the poorest people tend to cut down trees to burn for fuel, but failed to mention the best thing we could do for those populations is to help them with access to more efficient fuel sources like natural gas.

  12. End Days are coming for sure. First the New Testament told us so. Now shamans tell us so. This confirmation is conclusive proof. Different religion, same message or repentance.

  13. OT (but idiocy may cause mass extinction isn’t it ?) :

    I heard Macron today :
    – one of his main points : “Climate crisis”.

    What a dumbass … 🙁

  14. George Carlin was absolutely right when he said ‘These people don’t care about the planet. Not in the abstract, they don’t.”
    All they care about is getting noticed in the media and if there’s money involved that they can grab, that, too. That’s all that matters to them. Jump on the bandwagon, get noticed by the cameras, and demand money from people.

    • I have referred many people to that post over the years , one of your first I read i think, and like all you write its good, and appreciated.
      shared your blog n travel tales and friends are loving them too

  15. Scientist estimates. That says it all. Lets see what will happen if we tell
    our PC that we are losing X number per year. Then we can ask it how
    many we are losing per year .

    Perhaps if such persons got out of their nice comfortable air conditioned
    office and actually did some “Fled studies”” in the real world, but that’s’ far
    too hard.

    MJE VK5ELL

  16. I’m not convinced that left wing environmentalists really care extinction. I think that when the left talks about extinction they are just trying to swing some of the creationist vote to their side. Anyone who understands evolution knows that an extinct species is like a book that is out of print. We have the alphabet, if we were so inclined we could re-write the book. We are so confident in our ability to re-write the DNA of some species that the question has turned from the technology to the ethics.

  17. “…since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.”

    They like to bring up the dinosaurs, which makes me muse on a few things.

    Back in 1970 when they were SURE that science proved we were all doomed and the 65 million years meme was popular, weren’t dinosaurs still cold blooded and featherless?

    Got to love that settled science.

  18. Another mass extinction? Just leave the cows, you can take the brussel sprouts and kale but leave the cows.

  19. So called “Conservation Biology” is not Science. It is Activism
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/03/20/insectageddon-is-alarmist-by-bad-design-scientists-point-out-the-studys-major-flaws/#comment-2660158

    An Ecologist’s Perspective on Pope Francis’s Encyclical Letter
    Guest Contributor: Dan Botkin

    Be that as it may, the greatest importance of the pope’s document is that it makes clear once and for all that this issue is fundamentally a religious and an ideological one, not a scientific one. As I make clear in several of my books and many of my articles, the fundamental irony of environmental science is that it is premised on mythology, on the myth of the great balance of nature, which is not scientific and not scientifically correct
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/04/an-ecologists-perspective-on-pope-franciss-encyclical-letter/

  20. It be climate change extinction time again doubters-
    https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/worlds-second-largest-penguin-colony-disappears-overnight/ar-BBWivma
    They’ll be rolling up on Waikiki Beach anytime soon as a sign from Gaia. I need to investigate the effect of melting surfboard wax on the sensory navigation capabilities of penguins so send more grants urgently as I need to chop the jetski in for a new electric model and have you seen those beachside cabana prices?

  21. Are there any stats, claims, estimates on how many new species are appearing, arriving, evolving, being created ex nihilo per year or whatever? Are any of them of anthropogenic causation? Can the human species apply for credit for all our gene spliced, cloned, modified creations to offset our carbon based sins and reduce the onerous penance the Church of AGW Climate Armageddon is demanding?

  22. Once upon a time I was responsible for two endangered species programs, sea turtles and manatees. The hyperbole and false information put forth by environmentalists and our own staff boggled the mind and the tactics reminded me a lot of the CAGW world and their strategies and tactics. My instruction from on high were to ensure whatever we did was the best science possible. One would thing that would be relatively easy it was not. That I dare demand we do a stock assessment on manatees made me Darth Vader. I lost, but ultimately a new agency’s leadership required a stock assessment. One would have thought they had proposed slaughtering all manatees from the reactions of the local news media and environmental groups. Of course most in the game already knew the status, threatened at worse with a susceptible but growing population. Turtles are much harder to do stock assessments. About the only time they are counted at all is by the number of nest sites, which tend to fluctuate year to year.

    What frustrates me in all of this is that the environmentalists blame the USA on all the worlds environmental problems when we have the best record of any country in the world, e.g., air pollution, plastics, etc. So why do the environmentalists want perfection from the USA? Could it be all this has nothing at all to do with the Earth’s environment?

    • “a new agency’s leadership required a stock assessment. One would have thought they had proposed slaughtering all manatees from the reactions of the local news media and environmental groups.”

      You can tell how bad the scam is by how hard the scammers push back on a simple thing like, oh, say counting. Every person ever caught with their hand in the cookie jar was able to get away with things until someone did a simple count of cookies.

      As Reagan said, “trust, but verify”.

      Not to hard to go along with unless you are hiding something.

      • Pertinent to the overall conversation on WUWT is exactly how science was abused. Winter manatee aerial surveys, conducted for a decade or longer, were never well designed surveys. Literally making up the numbers would have been just as accurate and those doing the surveys knew it.

        Part of my expertise was doing aerial surveys of fishing vessels at sea to estimate total effort. Looking out of a aircraft at anything on the surface takes some getting use to. Counting accurately from the air, even things on open land that are not moving very fast, takes practice and if surveys are properly designed require training. (At one time Australia red kangaroo surveys required two years of training.) Yet that is not how manatee surveys were conducted. Over half the time those supposedly doing the counting had never been in a light aircraft before much less counted anything from the air. You can see manatees only in clear water or when they are at the surface. Yet even in clear water it takes skill to actually “see” things.

        The biggest problem in protecting manatees was a disconnect between the “official counts” and the anecdotal reports from the public. People in their 70s, who had been on the water all their lives, were seeing more and more manatees while the state and federal government were saying manatees were about to disappear. Led to some ugly public hearing.

  23. I’ve noticed them pushing this narrative more and more lately. They need a new one since the AGW narrative hasn’t caught on with the public.

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