I’ve heard some pretty pessimistic stuff lately, and I wish to allay any fears regarding the state of the world. First, I read an article citing a study predicting the extinction of all fish species (except jellyfish, although they’re technically cnidarians) by 2048, if I recall correctly. Then, I saw a paleontologist on The Colbert Report who said that man could be going extinct (this point was also raised in my ecology class).
There are several reasons that neither of these issues is either real, or a problem. Regarding the fish, who needs ’em? Look, if the fishing industry wasn’t tossing chum at me left and right trying to get me to eat “sushi” or, worst of all, “caviar,” maybe fish would have a chance. But as it stands, they’re dragging up all kinds of disgusting stuff that should remain down there creating ecologically-diverse ecosystems so stuff that’s not so disgusting can flourish. Regardless, if the fishing industry doesn’t see fit to change their methods, I’ll be fine without fish as an option for dinner. They smell terrible, they’re entirely too healthy, and they just don’t taste that good. It would be a shame to not have any “killer shark” or “boy riding whale” movies though.
So what about man’s impending extinction? Man has been dominating this planet for as long as I can remember (and, apparently, as long as recorded history can remember), so I think we’ve learned a thing or two about “existing.” Man’s population is continuing to grow on a global level, increasing ~1.3% per year. Though this is down from ~2.1% growth between 1965 and 1970, we’re becoming more stable and it’ll actually be a good thing when fertility equals mortality. Of course, being a religious man, I’ve got to believe that we’re going to be around here long enough to get what’s coming to us, but even those who don’t subscribe to such beliefs can look at the numbers and see that we’re not declining. Like any species, we’re being held in check by natural devices (disease, war, natural disaster, etc.), but anyone who thinks we’re being wiped out needs to consider the size of the average Mexican family.