Science Podcasts

Special episode

Mon, 2nd Feb 2015

How close are we to the next mass extinction?

Pangea animation (c) United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Around 250 million years ago our world was a very different place. Rather than the different continents we know today, there was only one giant land mass - Pangea - covered with plants and animals. But then something went horribly wrong. Over a few million years, more than 95 per cent of all species on the early earth were wiped out in an event known as the Permian mass extinction. So what caused it? One researcher who thinks he might know is Mark Sephton from Imperial College London and, as he explained to Kat Arney, this wasn't the first time that our world has come to the brink of disaster...

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This one?

Well, yes, I think we're living that dream now.
Some reasons are.

1. Militarization of Europe.
2.USA surrounding Russia with military bases, to 'protect its, and theirs, interests'
3. NATO as a new 'world police', able to intervene 'everywhere'.
3. few living remembering atomic war.
4. A general distrust of politicians, and their goals.
5. global warming.
6. A constantly raising CO2
7. devastation of our earth as we go for what natural assets we still can find
8. Over population
9. A increased inequality, inside all nations, not only between industrialized and developing.
10. The dogma of the 'market knows it best', combined with a belief in it comparable to a religion.
11. the eroding of most ideals creating democracy.

and before all, peoples 'self interests' (egen intressen). That what make you elect a politician repeatably, or his party, even though you know they lied the last time, and the time before. Because they promise you 'something', that you expect to give you personally a better chance, restricting others or promoting you. Self interests. yor_on, Sun, 29th Mar 2015

Just too many paths leading in the same direction. What people constantly fail to see is that you don't need 'conspiracy theories'. Exchange them for short sighted 'Self Interests' and you will get the world we have, The more 'power' you have, the more your self interests will 'weight' into your favor. And that includes all political ideals, from our western 'representative' democracy, to Russia's even more questionable variant, to outright dictatorships. We are in dire need of a real democracy, but we don't really want it. Shortsighted self interests will stop us there too I expect. yor_on, Sun, 29th Mar 2015 RD, Sun, 29th Mar 2015

Yes RD, another take on the same problem. That our 'infinite Earth' is getting smaller by the minute.

1, Has the CO2 started to come down? No.
2, Are the number of natural disasters increasing? Yep (that one doesn't necessarily comes about as a measure of global warming, but it is related to our management of this planet)
3. What is the status on methane releases (that's a long shot, as a 'tipping', but if it builds up as fast as it seems able to do? And to that you can add man made fracking and drilling after 'natural gas 'underwater' in colder water)
4. have we any control over our population growth? No.
5. How does it look for the Arctic? Not good.
6. And Antarctica.. That's one of the trickiest questions, and it seems to accelerate there. If it does, and the west side starts to glide, to calve into deep water at the continental shelf? what will it do the winds and streams, the oceans, the marine life, and us?
7. and lastly, any signs of us trying to deal with it? Nope. We 'study' it though, and we still 'debate' :)

Here are some tidbits.

The Arctic's climate change is messing with our weather. 
Arctic sea ice reaches lowest maximum extent on record.   
On thin ice: Combined Arctic ice observations show decades of loss. 
Antarctica is basically liquefying. 
Antarctic ice shelves are melting dramatically, study finds.

sorry, mixed the Swedish word 'continental sockel' with the English 'Continental shelf', arriving at the 'continental socket' :)
Anyway, for those curious

Actually, I have one extremely 'long shot' left. Would there be people, stupid enough, to plan for nuclear war in the belief that it will correct over population, as well as global warming, and naturally give those surviving a 'upper hand', well, relative the dead at least? I know, that one should be just a tad too stupid, shouldn't it? Then again, any evidence of us being smart here? Manipulative sure, but smart? I'm sure we have 'think tanks' believing in 'limited nuclear wars', as in believing that it is a game you can play. Ah well, from that to my last long shot, how big a step would it be? yor_on, Sun, 29th Mar 2015

On the point of climate change, and the polar ice caps in particular, if the polar ice caps were to diminish enough to slow or even stop the oceanic current, what might result from still oceans? Don_1, Wed, 3rd Jun 2015

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