Around the world, humans have wiped out 60 percent of all mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, according to a report by the World Wildlife Foundation.
To cite one just example in North America, seventy percent of shorebird populations have disappeared since 1973. That was when I was a child strolling on the beach.
Modern civilization is wreaking havoc on biodiversity, with our industries, population growth and pesticides gradually killing off most large forms of life that do not serve humanity or feed off of us.
This is frightening. But at the same time, the average life span of people around the world has more than doubled since 1900, because of medical improvements, advances in farming technology and rising incomes.
This conflict is sometimes described as the “environmentalists paradox.” The paradox, in a nutshell, is that the quality of life for humans has improved even as we’ve pillaged and destroyed the planet’s natural ecosystems.