From: Bruce Sterling []
Sent: Saturday, May 20, 2000 4:35 PM
To: Viridian List
Subject: Viridian Note 00158: Biodiversity Part 1

Key concepts: biodiversity, human impacts, Nature magazine

Attention Conservation Notice: grim reportage,
can cause feelings of despair.

Entries in the Greenhouse Disaster Symbol contest:
This contest expires May 31, 2000.

Hey wow, an "Ecotron." Cool. Build me one, too:
Global Weather Violence Greatest Hits:

(((NATURE 11 May 02000 has an "Insight" section on
"Biodiversity" that may be the most alarming thing I've ever read in a refereed scientific journal. It really takes a mental stretch to realize that when you stroll past some neatly mown lawn with a little kid, a kitty and a puppy, you are witnessing a biodiversity holocaust.)))

Source: Nature 11 May 02000, page 234
"Consequences of Changing Biodiversity" by F. Chapin, E.
Zevaleta, V. Eviner,

"Humans have extensively altered the global environment,
changing global biogeochemical cycles, transforming land
and enhancing the mobility of biota. Fossil-fuel
combustion and deforestation have increased the
concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) by 30%
in the past three centuries (with more than half of this
increase occurring in the past 40 years).

"We have more than doubled the concentration of methane and increased concentrations of other gases that
contribute to global warming. In the next century these
greenhouse gases are likely to cause the most rapid
climate change that the Earth has experienced since the
end of the last glaciation 18,000 years ago and perhaps a much longer time." (((I would imagine that, as climate
change begins to really sink its hooks in, more and more
attention will be paid to the "end of the last
glaciation." Although it was prehistoric, it's the
closest parallel we have for current events. What happened back then? Well, the planet heated drastically, glaciers retreated, most every game animal that was large and
edible went suddenly extinct, and human beings in control of fire spread over every continent. More than

"Industrial fixation of nitrogen for fertilizer and other human activities has more than doubled the rates of terrestrial fixation of gaseous nitrogen into biologically available forms." (((Now there's a statistic one rarely
sees. World now too fertile. Oh dear.)))

"Run-off of nutrients from agricultural agricultural and urban systems has increased several-fold in the
devloped river basins of the Earth, causing major
ecological changes in estuaries and coastal zones. Humans have transformed 40-50% of the ice-free land surface,
changing prairies, forests and wetlands into agricultural and urban systems. We dominate (directly or indirectly)
about one-third of the net primary productivity on land
and harvest fish that use 8% of ocean productivity.

"We use 54% of the available fresh water, with use projected to increase to 70% by 2050."

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