Locus Focus on 03/11/13
HOW A PLETHORA OF PEOPLE PRODUCES A PAUCITY OF WILDLIFE
As the world's human population continues to grow logarithmically, it is pushing out other life forms and endangering biodiversity around the world. However, it's not just a simple equation of more people means less wildlife. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with veteran wildlife biologist and environmental planner Leon Kolankiewicz about a number of factors that come into play that are driving species around the world toward extinction. Leon is the author of an article "Overpopulation versus Biodiversity: How a Plethora of People Produces a Paucity of Wildlife," included in Life on the Brink, a new book about the environmental impacts of overpopulation. He describes a 1988 expedition into the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, where he witnessed firsthand the frontal assault of humans on wilderness and wildlife. And he observes: "Contrary to the politically correct conventional wisdom of the contemporary environmental movement, the perpetrators of this assault included not only the rich and powerful but also the poor and powerless." Leon concludes that: "Our species is unique, because here and now only we have the ability to destroy, or to save, biodiversity.The destiny of all wild living things is in our hands. Will we crush them or let them be wild and free? Limiting human population will not guarantee success, but not doing so means certain failure."
Leon Kolankiewicz is an environmental scientist and national natural resources planner. His professional experience includes stints with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, University of Washington, University of New Mexico, and as an environmental planner with the Orange County, (Ca.) Environmental Management Agency. Mr. Kolankiewicz is the author of Where Salmon Come to Die: An Autumn on Alaska’s Raincoast.