Dan Boyle: Extinction Distinction


From top: The curlew population in Ireland has been diminished by 96%; Dan Boyle

It’s getting more and more difficult to find a decent environmental scare story. It’s hard to overcome that great wall of indifference, (largely made up, sadly, of decision makers) who instinctively feel that things are not so bad and if they become worse that will be then.

The increasing number of extreme weather events is shaking some out of their torpor. The intensity of the Californian wildfires may be leading some officials to declare that ‘abnormal is the new normal’, others choose to see it as a failure of forest management.

Actual evidence of damage being caused by climate change continues to be ignored because it largely lacks a visual manifestation.

An example of this would be the publication of a recent report showing a decrease of 60% in animal populations in an under fifty year period since 1970.

The indifferent may continue to sway away from statistics like this, thinking we’ve survived the passing of the Dodo and its ilk, what’s another few species?

Slowly the realisation may dawn that we are an animal species. There for the grace of whatever divine presence, that may or may not exist, go us.

Even the most selfish of us should recognise the extinction of any species as a series of canary in the coal mine moments for the human race on this planet. And yes the coal mine reference is deliberate.

We all are component parts of a wider ecosystem. The disappearing parts of that means the rest of us have to work that bit harder. It could be that an extinct species is responsible for something that can’t exist after them. Once gone it may never return.

Yaboo sucks deniers may chorus, in ways that makes me feel that the wrong parts of particular animal populations are being sustained.

Like Climate Change itself, the scale of what’s happening discourages many to do anything. As with general environmental action, it’s the local where effect starts to take place.

Ireland’s record on species protection is nothing to write home about. The Curlew population has been diminished by 96%. The government’s response to this has been to pass a Heritage Bill that allows hedge cutting during breeding periods, a new form of contraceptive for our breeding birds.

The current mania for dredging our rivers in the middle of spawning season is another form of genius.

This weekend a number of events (see below) are happening hoping to improve awareness of species extinction. The main event will be held in Dublin at 2pm outside the Dead Zoo (the Natural History Museum). Other events will be held in Cork (outside of its GPO) and Galway (alongside Salthill promenade).

Awareness is only part of the story. It’s anger that needs to be harnessed. In a focussed and direct way. The lack of appropriate political action is creating growing reserves of anger among environmentalists.

We will, I feel, see growing civil disobedience among environmentalists, weary at the lack of any substantial change on these issues. It’s a change of approach that should be welcomed.

Much better than playing at being dead.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Pic: BBC Wildlife


28 thoughts on “Dan Boyle: Extinction Distinction

  1. bisted

    ‘…growing civil disobedience among environmentalists’…were you one of the eco-warriors responsible for the release of mink from fur farms…you probably caused the extinction of a few species yourself…

      1. bisted

        …ah…the old ‘Humpty Dumpty was pushed’ defence…long time since I’ve heard that one…is it making a comeback…like boy bands?

        1. Nigel

          You prefer the old blame eco-terrorists defence? I mean suit yourself those fur farmers who bring in non-native species seem nice and reliable.

          1. bisted

            …I’m not defending anyone in this debacle…the havoc caused by introduction of this single invasive species goes far beyond the measurable demise of ground-nesting birds…the eco-warriors must share responsibilty for the devastation…cheerleaders who rally them, attempt to legitimise their actions by calling it civil disobedience and march them up to the top of the hill are even more despicable…

          2. Nigel

            Not if they’re made-up eco-terrorists by the people who imported the non-native species and allowed them to escape, they don’t.

  2. CO2 Rocks

    Face science, fake fear, fake virtue, the Chicken Licken Climate Alarmists have been trying to scare us for decades. Their tactics are failing. That’s why “It’s getting more and more difficult to find a decent environmental scare story”

    Instead you lie, fake the science, fudge the maths and then infest our media and education systems with your false tales of catastrophe. For example, you make the claim that extreme weather events are increasing but you provide no (zero, zilch, nada) evidence to substantiate your claim. You pervert bad science into holier than thou climate dogma and all so you can be a high priest of climate virtue. (Yuk)

    Give it up Dan, the lie is done.

          1. CO2 Rocks

            Ask Dan for his evidence. He’s the expert in bad dogma.

            (Oh wait, Dan doesn’t believe in evidence. He’s got the virtue!!)

          2. millie st murderlark

            How about an answer to the question instead of your usual hysterical finger pointing.

            You a flat earther too? Or is it the lizard people you have an issue with?

        1. postmanpat

          brietbart.com? like thats a reliable news source? A ultra conservative outlet for neo fascists and braindead homophobic bigot uber Christians ? CO2 Rock , no one has heard of you before , now go troll somewhere else.

          1. millie st murderlark

            It’s Zuppy/Sentient Won masquerading under a new name. He’s troll of the highest order and the lowest intellect.

  3. Cian

    Hmmm.. wildlife dropped by 60% since 1970; :-(
    to balance this, humankind has increased by 95% since 1970. :-)

    I think the world needs fewer humans…

    There was a story called “2430 A.D.” written by Isaac Asimov that talked about this.. one particular part was:

    “It was known in advance exactly how many men the Earth could support. So many calories of sunlight reached the Earth, and, using that, only so many tons of carbon dioxide could be fixed by green plants each year, and only so many tons of animal life could be supported by those plants. The Earth could support two trillion tons of animal life–”

    Cranwitz finally broke in, “And why shouldn’t all two trillion tons be human?”


    “Even if it meant killing off all other animal life?”

    “That’s the way of evolution,” said Bunting angrily. “The fit survive.”

  4. CO2 Rocks

    Green Energy is the perfect scam…

    “Scientists are a special interest group largely financed by the federal government. Global warming is a magnificent gift to the science industry. The industry has been corrupted by pathological science that is primarily intended to increase flow of money from Washington. Science directed toward discovering truth is out of fashion. The many scientists that are global warming skeptics don’t exist as far as the science industry is concerned.”


Comments are closed.