He was a good friend of mine.
July 7, 2006 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Amphibian Extinction Crisis: "For the first time in modern history, because of the way that humans are impacting our natural world, we're facing the extinction of an entire class of organisms....This is not the extinction of just a panda or a rhino, it's a whole class of organisms." Original declaration of the Amphibian Conservation Summit (pdf). More details in the BBC and San Francisco Chronicle. Previously.
posted by salvia (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
From the Chronicle:

While the spread of the disease is a major new threat to all amphibians, the scientists reported that the greatest current danger to every threatened species is still the loss of habitat as cities and suburbs expand, streams and ponds and wetlands give way to the needs of farmers, and forest lands are destroyed.
posted by salvia at 10:02 AM on July 7, 2006

Whatever, that's what they get for not picking a fucking side. In or out of the water, jackasses. You don't get it both ways.
posted by absalom at 10:17 AM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

Many will think "What's the big deal?" It is the bizarre notion that we are not animals--that we are independent of the chain of life--that will do us in.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:42 AM on July 7, 2006

Spock: "You know, it's ironic - when man was killing these creatures, he was destroying his own future."
posted by johngoren at 12:28 PM on July 7, 2006

Many will think "What's the big deal?" It is the bizarre notion that we are not animals--that we are independent of the chain of life--that will do us in.

Our food chain is really not that deep. Sun->corn->cows/chickens/pigs. And of course we can survive indefinetly on a few staple crops like corn, rice, potatos, etc. We don't really need all those other species to survive ourselves. Not that it would be a good thing to get rid of them, but it's not like we truly need them.
posted by delmoi at 1:12 PM on July 7, 2006

Though, uh, we don't really know what'll happen if they go away. From the linked pdf:

"The amphibians... play essential roles, both as predators and prey, in the ecosystems of the world. Adult amphibians regulate populations of insects that are pests on crops, or which transmit diseases. The tadpoles of many amphibians, as herbivores or filter feeders, play a major role in aquatic ecosystems."
posted by salvia at 1:36 PM on July 7, 2006

Our food chain is really not that deep.

this thinking is very reductionist and can be avoided. We really don't know what keeps things together in most ecosystems, so taking whole orders of species out is folly. the concept of a food chain is just a cartoon for teaching purposes, a stepping stone to the concept of true food webs, and even those aren't usually complete, much less dynamic.

massive extinctions are a bit like knocking out walls of a house without knowing which ones are load bearing. The other part is that the speed with which we are doing this is unprecedented. Or, rather, it is precedented, but not within any story we want to be a part of.

"oh, but we only need a floor, two walls, and a roof! If the house starts collapsing, we can replace the wall with piled scraps!"
posted by eustatic at 3:20 PM on July 7, 2006

If the frogs all die, what will the mice do?
posted by homunculus at 5:23 PM on July 7, 2006

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