Regarding the May 7 editorial “The deadly threat to biodiversity — and us”:
The United Nations report on biodiversity loss points out that we are destroying habitats across the globe at an astounding rate, which could lead to the extinction of 1 million species, one-eighth of all estimated species on Earth. One statistic in the report is particularly disturbing: Humans have destroyed more than 85 percent of wetlands globally. Wetlands provide vital habitat for wildlife, help filter pollution from our waters, and help buffer the impacts of floods and droughts that are increasing in frequency and severity because of climate change.
Nevertheless, the Trump administration is proposing eliminating Clean Water Act protection of isolated wetlands, which comprise 51 percent of wetlands in the United States, a move that would lead to further species extinctions and an incalculable loss to future generations.
William Robert Irvin, Washington
The writer is president of American Rivers.
The May 7 front-page article “Extinctions put humans at great risk, report warns” was truly eye-opening — and not just because of its information about the expected extinctions of so many species. More important, the article conveyed the report’s lack of serious discussion about the basic underlying reason for this calamity, which is just one of the many crises now enveloping our planet. The key issue is this: human overpopulation. Some scientists have concluded that humankind should have a maximum population of perhaps 2 billion — about one-fourth of what we now have. We must start lowering our population. Not with coercion, but with good information and good social behavior.
Stephen McKevitt, Washington
How ironic that Eugene Robinson suggested, “If you dream of a trip to see the Great Barrier Reef, I wouldn’t put it off,” in his May 7 op-ed about human-induced species extinction [“Species are dying off at an alarming rate. It’s our fault.”]. Better had he said, “If you dream of a trip to see the Great Barrier Reef (or any other long-range eco-tourism trip), please resist that urge, because such a trip will incrementally contribute to the reef’s (and life as we know it) demise.”
Bill Marriott, Springfield
As the recent United Nations report on biodiversity and ecosystems pointed out, we are reaching a breaking point in preserving biodiversity, with humans accelerating the extinction of animals and plants at an alarming rate.
Climate change, water shortages and growing urban populations force wildlife to search for new homes. Encroachment has become an urgent reality in urban and wild areas alike. The question for humans has to become, “Are we willing to share the planet?” As the U.N. report made clear, we don’t have time to waste. My organization works to instill our vision in which animals and people thrive, and in which sharing the planet is woven into the fabric of people’s everyday life and decisions, from what they buy to how they travel. By doing so, we can move from consumption to contentment, from exploitation to stewardship, and, as soon as possible, bring along everyone in our push for progress.
Azzedine Downes, Yarmouth Port, Mass.
The writer is president and chief executive of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.