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Thursday, January 12, 2006

A reason to care about frogs

Posted by: Hammer / 10:35 AM

We're wiping out the planet's amphibious species at an alarming rate:

Roughly one-third of the world's 6,000 amphibian species are now considered under threat of extinction. Destruction of habitat is an important reason for this. But frogs are also disappearing in pristine, protected tropical forests. These are the mysterious extinctions that Dr. Pounds argues are linked to the fungus.

The frogs are dying because the climate is changing. Human activity encourages certain fungus growth, which kills the frogs.

Fortunately, of course, we just don't care:

Some of the world's worst polluting nations pledged new tactics to fight global warming, but said they would not sacrifice economic growth or stop using fossil fuels.

The strategy was outlined at the end of a two-day conference here bringing ministers from the United States, Australia, Japan, China, India and South Korea together with more than 100 top executives from big business.

The six nations of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP-6) said at the end of their inaugural meeting that "at the core of (our) vision is our conviction of the urgent need to pursue development and poverty eradication.

...The group said while it recognised renewable energy and nuclear power would represent an increasing share of global energy supply, there would be no reduction in the use of fossil fuels.

"We recognised that fossil fuels underpin our economies, and will be an enduring reality for our lifetimes and beyond," the six nations said in a statement.

Now, I like frogs and think we ought to protect frogs just for the sake of protecting frogs. I believe we should treat our planet as caretakers rather than extremely vulgar tourists. Not everyone agrees with that belief.

Sadly for us, this is not really about frogs. It's about changing our environment at so rapid a pace that we can't appreciate the damage we've done until well after the opportunity to prevent the damage has passed. We're exterminating frogs today. What happens if the next fungus or bacteria or virus that blossoms in our warmer Earth destroys rice? Or wheat? Or hops and barley?

We are fomenting deadly changes across the globe. We need a little far-sighted self-interest to understand that sooner or later we'll be facing direct threats to our survival.


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