Monday, October 29, 2007

Bad Week for the World

Boy, when it rains it pours (literally and figuratively since we are at the end of the monsoon season so it has been raining quite a lot here).

First I receive word that the carbon sinks are clogged, now I see that Sri Lanka
has not one (as with the last list), but two primates on the list of the 25 most endangered primates. Yep, joining the irresistibly doe-eyed loris is the Western purple faced leaf eater.

To continue with the bad news, primate conservation in general looks bleak:

"You could fit all the surviving members of these 25 species in a single football stadium -- that's how few of them remain on earth today," said Russell Mittermeier, president of U.S.-based environmental group Conservation International.
In case you were curious, the Sumatran orangutan and the Cross-River Gorilla (a new subspecies discovered just a few years ago) are also on the list. I'm sure if they listed the top 50 the rest of the apes would be included.

Sri Lanka is one of the few countries to be home to more than one primate on the list (Vietnam and Madagascar have four, Indonesia has three and along with Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Colombia each have two). All the critically endangered primates reside in Hot Spots, and yes, this is more than just a concern for cute animals. Primates are generally keystone species, so if you are loosing your primates, you are loosing everything. These forests are important beyond wildlife habitat concerns, they control the soil, the water, and the air of the land around them and influence these resources far away also (even though they aren't storing as much carbon as we would like, they are still storing it).

So I'm already depressed and then the U.N. has to drop this bombshell (o.k. I already knew this, but having a U.N. report makes it a bit too real),
“The human population is now so large that the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available at current consumption patterns,” Achim Steiner, the executive director of the Environment Program, said in a telephone interview.
Thus I leave you with this very apt comic, because if we don't laugh, we'll have to cry...

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