By Situation Theatre 7/5/2019
Judging by the top story on ABC News Breakfast this morning, a wealthy ruling class woman giving birth is officially more important than the potential extinction of life on Earth.
Hosts Michael Roland and Lisa Millar spent a good five minutes chatting to their correspondent in London to get the scoop on the size of the new imperial penis, for that was apparently a greater priority than communicating the news from a new UN report about the total breakdown of Earth’s life support systems.
According to ABC online, these are the key questions we should be asking on this fateful day.
The Guardian’s Global Environment Editor Jonathan Watts has helpfully provided the most informative answers to the most pressing questions from the Liberal Party’s ABC.
Q. When will we get to see Baby Sussex?
A. “The biomass of wild mammals has declined 82%, natural ecosystems have lost half their area, and a million species are at risk of extinction.”
Q. Will Baby Sussex be a prince?
A.”Two in five amphibian species are at risk of extinction, as are one-third of reef-forming corals, and close to one-third of other marine species. “
Q. Where will Meghan and Harry raise him?
A.“The health of the ecosystems on which we and other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide,” said Robert Watson, the chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (Ibpes). “We have lost time. We must act now.”
Q. Where will Baby Sussex go to school?
A.”Three-quarters of all land has been turned into farm fields, covered by concrete, swallowed up by dam reservoirs or otherwise significantly altered. Two-thirds of the marine environment has also been changed by fish farms, shipping routes, subsea mines and other projects. Three-quarters of rivers and lakes are used for crop or livestock cultivation. As a result, more than 500,000 species have insufficient habitats for long-term survival. Many are on course to disappear within decades.”
Q. How hands on will Meghan and Harry be?
A.”In terms of habitats, the deepest loss is of wetlands, which have drained by 83% since 1700, with a knock-on impact on water quality and birdlife. Forests are diminishing, particularly in the tropics. In the first 13 years of this century, the area of intact forest fell by 7%, bigger than France and the UK combined.”
“Oceans are no longer a sanctuary. Only 3% of marine areas are free from human pressure. Industrial fishing takes place in more than half the world’s oceans, leaving one-third of fish populations overexploited.”
Q. Away from London, how ‘normal’ will Baby Sussex’s upbringing be?
A. “Emissions continue to rise. Last week, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed the 415 parts per million mark for the first time. Even if global heating can be kept within the Paris agreement target of 1.5C to 2C, the ranges of most species will shrink profoundly, the paper warns.”
“Our species now extracts 60bn tons of resources each year, almost double the amount in 1980, though the world population has grown by only 66% in that time. The report notes how the discharges are overwhelming the Earth’s capacity to absorb them. More than 80% of wastewater is pumped into streams, lakes and oceans without treatment, along with 300m-400m tons of heavy metals, toxic slurry and other industrial discharges. Plastic waste has risen tenfold since 1980, affecting 86% of marine turtles, 44% of seabirds and 43% of marine mammals. Fertiliser run-off has created 400 “dead zones”, affecting an area the size of the UK.”
So unless we want play a game of “will biodiversity loss or climate breakdown kill us all first?”, perhaps we could give fewer flying fruitcakes about our new baby overlord and instead plan how to escape this Kamikaze capitalist train and land safely in an ecosocialist future?