President of sushi restaurant chain Sushi-Zanmai, Kiyoshi Kimura, left, cuts a 380-pound giant bluefin tuna at his main restaurant near Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market on Jan. 5, 2015. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s Feel Bad About Humans Thursday! Behold a new creature on the planet: The “human super predator.” [I know: Photo’s a little much. But you know what they say: Over-the-top is the new even-keel. Hysterical is the new equanimity.]

“We’re the worst,” reports my colleague Rachel Feltman, cutting right to the chase in her story on a new study, published today in the journal Science, about the disastrous effects of human predation.

Humans, the study found, prey on other large carnivores at nine times the rate that those large carnivores prey on one another. And we target adults in their reproductive prime much more than is natural in the animal kingdom.

The authors of the study write in their synopsis: “[W]e suggest that humans function as an unsustainable ‘super predator,’ which — unless additionally constrained by managers — will continue to alter evolutionary and ecological processes globally.”

In other news, my colleague Jason Samenow reports today that July was the hottest month on record. That’s for Earth. Just in case you thought global warming was on vacation. Jason writes that this is sure to be the hottest year on record:

Both the “significant and strengthening” El Nino event along with the longer-term warming trend due to rising concentrations of manmade greenhouse gases are taking temperatures to new heights.

Meanwhile, my podmate Darryl Fears (sits next to me; Jason is all the way over on the other side of the pillar) reports that, according to a new study, anthropogenic global warming (AGW) has increased the intensity of California’s drought by as much as 25 percent.

The predator story is a reminder that humans are whomping [pardon the technical jargon] on the planet in lots of different ways, and one of those ways is directly killing animals. There are no indirect effects here. This is not a case, for example, of you filling up your gas tank and then burning some fuel that sends CO2 into the atmosphere and warms the planet and increases water temperatures and boosts ocean acidity and eventually kills a coral reef and makes it hard for a really pretty fish to survive. No, that fish is already dead — we killed it! We went straight for the jugular.

We poison, plunder, destroy. We’re a Swiss Army Knife of environmental damage.

(But won’t I feel guilty tonight when I fire up the Big Green Egg? Aren’t I a one-man environment-wrecking crew? All that grilled meat?? Hey, it’s not like I’m serving smoked condor!)

So, climate change isn’t the only thing to worry about. Sometimes I think it sucks up all of the oxygen in the room. That said, it’s a huge problem and potentially an existential one. It would help if certain political leaders and media blowhards stopped claiming that it’s a hoax dreamed up (for some unclear reason) by climate scientists. (Someone should do a story on why people don’t believe in science, dontcha think?)

Note that the authors of the predator study refer to constraints from “managers.” I know that will cause some folks’ heads to explode, because that’s not purely a market-driven process, it’s not libertarian, it’s not relying on the Invisible Hand, and once you start managing things you’re on the slippery slope to World Government and Big Brother and 2+2=5. But the future of human civilization will require a lot more management than we’ve seen to date. Welcome to Spaceship Earth.

Humans’ staggering effect on Earth

“If our species had started with just two people at the time of the earliest agricultural practices some 10,000 years ago, and increased by 1 percent per year, today humanity would be a solid ball of flesh many thousand light years in diameter, and expanding with a radial velocity that, neglecting relativity, would be many times faster than the speed of light.” —Gabor Zovanyi Sprawling Mexico City, Mexico, population 20 million, density 24,600/mile (63,700/square kilometer), rolls across the landscape, displacing every scrap of natural habitat; © Pablo Lopez Luz (Pablo Lopez Luz)

Further Reading:

Scientists say human activity has pushed Earth beyond 4 of 9 “planetary boundaries.”

Sure way to incite a raucous debate: Say “geoengineering.”