Charles Davis, Associate Professor, Missouri School of Journalism: More species are disappearing now than at any time in human history. Some scientists call the period we live in now the “halcyon extinction.” The idea is that human activity — everything from hunting to overexploitation of resources — has led to one of the largest die-offs in the earth’s history. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature reports that the rate of extinction has surpassed the rate of evolution, for the first time in the earth’s history. This means that species cannot keep pace with the loss of biodiversity. In some ways, it is more serious than global warming because once we lose species, it is nearly impossible to get them back. By declaring 2010 the year of biodiversity, the United Nations is taking steps toward changing the conversation. It is a shift away from an emphasis on global warming to a focus on global sustainability. But why should we care if the Chinese River Dolphin or the Golden Toad of Costa Rica become extinct, and what is being done to prevent the loss of biodiversity? Our guests today are Jean-Michel Cousteau and Andrew Revkin, two people who have immersed themselves for many years in issues related to global sustainability. They have both found powerful ways to communicate the gravity of these topics to many people. Jean-Michel Cousteau is the son of famous ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. He is a Peabody and Emmy Award–winning filmmaker. He has produced over 80 films that explore water ecosystems in addition to the power and politics that affect those eco systems. He is also the founder of the Ocean Futures Society, a nonprofit marine conservation association. Andrew Revkin was an environmental reporter at the New York Times for 25 years and continues to write about environmental issues on his New York Times blog DotEarth. He is a senior fellow at Pace University’s Academy for Applied Environmental Studies. His first book, The Burning Season, profiled the slain leader of a movement to save the Amazon. He has won awards from the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the organization of Investigative Reporters & Editors based here at the Missouri School of Journalism. Let’s start with Revkin. What is the economic argument for preserving biodiversity on earth?
GLOBAL JOURNALIST: Countries should shift focus to saving species, preserving biodiversity
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