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Of Extinctions, Extirpations, and the Future of Human Civilization
[Photo: Jaguar, Wiki-commons]
Of Extinctions, Extirpations, and the Future of Human Civilization
by Steven Argue
California once had jaguars from the San Francisco Bay south along the coastal ranges. Settlers extirpated the jaguar from California along with the grizzly bear and wolf. It is somewhat ironic to have the grizzly bear on the California state flag, but no grizzlies in the state because they've all been wiped out. American bison were also extirpated from California, but in that case it seems to have been done by Native Americans after they got horses from Europeans. Elsewhere in the United States, American Bison were almost hunted to extinction as a means of starving and conquering Native Americans.
Also lost from the Santa Cruz Mountains, but surviving elsewhere in California are the black bear and elk. Big holes are left in ecosystems when species are lost.
Populations of the jaguar, grizzly bear, American wolf, and American bison remain elsewhere in North and South America. One local has told this author that he has seen jaguars of the black variety in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This is an unlikely but intriguing possibility that would need research to confirm.
Far worse than these extirpations are extinctions. An “extirpation” is the loss of a species in a localized area. An “extinction” is the complete loss of a species.
California plant species that are thought to already be extinct include the Mariposa Daisy (Erigeron mariposanus), Point Reyes Paintbrush (Castilleja leschkeana), Pitkin Marsh paintbrush (Castilleja uliginosa), Bakersfield smallscale (Atriplex tularensis), lost thistle (Cirsium praeteriens), Hoover's cryptantha (Cryptantha hooveri), Los Angeles sunflower (Helianthus nuttallii), San Nicolas Island desert-thorn (Lycium verrucosum), Mendocino bush-mallow (Malacothamnus mendocinensis), Parish's bush-mallow (Malacothamnus parishii), Santa Cruz Island monkeyflower (Mimulus brandegeei), Whipple's monkeyflower (Mimulus whipplei), Santa Catalina Island monkeyflower (Mimulus traskiae), Merced monardella (Monardella leucocephala), Pringle's monardella (Monardella pringlei), hairless popcorn-flower (Plagiobothrys glaber), Mayacamas popcorn-flower (Plagiobothrys lithocaryus), Petaluma popcorn-flower (Plagiobothrys mollis var. vestitus), Ballona cinquefoil (Potentilla multijuga), Cunningham Marsh cinquefoil (Potentilla uliginosa), and Parish's gooseberry (Ribes divaricatum).
We hear a lot about the tropics, but rarely do I see this terrible loss to our planet's bio-diversity mourned as it is happening right in our back yards in California. Many more plant species are threatened with extinction, yet legal protections for endangered plants are far less than are established for endangered animals.
In California, thirty-one species of mammals are currently listed as threatened or endangered with extinction. Many other birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and plants are threatened with extinction as well. Protections of their habitat under the federal and state regulations are sometimes helping, as are emergency efforts like the breeding program of the California condor. Yet, along with government regulations not giving needed protections for plants, there have also been difficulties getting new deserving animal species on the list. In addition, continued habitat loss, global warming, and competition and predation from non-native species is driving more and more species to the edge of extinction, and some to extinction.
Work by local scientist Dr. Barry Sinervo is showing predicted reptile extinctions as reptiles are pushed to the limits of their physiology through global warming. Field work is showing that these models are turning out to be very accurate. Already in Santa Cruz County, the once abundant northern alligator lizard has been almost completely replaced by the southern alligator lizard. In the desert, populations of the endangered desert tortoise are being lost to climate change, as predicted in the models, and if things continue on their current path, the desert tortoise will be driven to extinction through global warming. This will be the fate of many species.
Yet, we are not just talking about tortoises tragically lost here. According to Dr. Barry Sinervo’s models, the ideal habitat for the desert tortoise will be driven all the way up to the Midwest’s border with Canada in several decades. So when we look at the tragedy of the desert tortoise, we are looking at major losses to human agriculture and a threat to the future of human civilization.
As the temperatures of the Earth heats up and fossil water sources are lost, much of where we presently grow food in the Midwest and will turn to desert. Mass starvation and break downs in human civilization are likely in the coming decades. Only a planned socialized economy will be able to implement emergency measures that have a chance of keeping everyone fed. In addition, to slow global warming will take the nationalization of oil, gas, coal, and auto to end their corrupting influence on politics and revamping those industries to better meet human and environmental needs through a planned socialist economy.
Extinction is Forever! Defend and Extend the Endangered Species Act!
Save The Earth Through Proletarian Socialist Revolution!
-Steven Argue of the Revolutionary Tendency
From the same author, see:
All True Revolutionaries Are Environmentalists
Of "Chemtrails", The "Illuminati", Global Warming, and Trayvon Martin
This is an article of Liberation News, subscribe Free:
Photo: Dust bowl dust storm. Through the 1930s people in the center of the United States suffered in what was called the dust bowl. A lack of rain and poor farming practices caused the dirt to begin to blow in massive storms. Crops were destroyed, people starved, children died of dust pneumonia, and many refugees, including famed singer song writer Woody Guthrie, tried to make a new start in California. Better farming practices and the return of the rains at the end of the thirties finally eliminated dust bowl conditions except for a brief return in the 1950s. Since that time, wells have been dug that keep the crops watered. The region is now a major supplier of the world's food. Yet, the underground water supply will run out in a few decades. In addition, climate models predict the land will become dryer and hotter as a result of global warming, not just in the old dust bowl, but through the entire Midwest. This threatens a major supply of food for the entire world.
[Photo credit: Chris Johns/National Geographic/Getty Images]