Author Topic: E.O. Wilson Warns Biosphere "Shield" Vital for Continuation of Human Species  (Read 6243 times)

The Costa Report

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    • The Costa Report

by American sociobiologist, Rebecca D. Costa

E. O. Wilson, Pulitzer Prize winning author and acclaimed father of biodiversity and sociobiology, releases another controversial book this month: The Meaning of Human Existence. In his book, Wilson – the only scientist to be physically attacked on U.S. soil for his work – urges modern man to face, head-on, the questions French artist Paul Gaugin scrawled on the corner of his canvas:

"Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?"

"Our interest in the living part of the world is fading," warns Wilson. "It's going green... fake green, pastel green." Despite the trend toward environmentally responsible living, startling figures on global extinction indicate we are rapidly destroying a complex system of biodiversity which "shields" human life. According to Wilson, the present rate of extinction poses a threat to the survival of the human species: "We'll be down, at the end of the century, to one half of the species either extinct or on the brink of extinction." He explains that the mass eradication of biodiversity has been further compounded by the effects of climate change and other byproducts of progress.

"[The biosphere] is like a shield over us," said Wilson. "We treat it as though it's just something given. In fact, we're wiping it out." At present scientists estimate that they have discovered only 2 million of 8-9 million total species on Earth, which makes an accurate assessment of the rate of extinction challenging.

When asked by host of The Costa Report, Rebecca Costa, why leaders don't make protecting the "shield" a priority, Wilson replied, "We are a dysfunctional species. "We just can't get things together. We keep having disasters." According to Wilson, the root cause of turmoil is the lack of an understanding of who and what we are. Once the questions posed by Paul Gauguin are addressed, and answered, the importance of acting to preserve the shield vital to our continuation will become paramount. He explains that explosive advancements leading to new information on the origin of humanity are allowing us to answer these questions. New breakthroughs in DNA studies, ecology, and our understanding of the human mind are equipping us with the knowledge necessary to create workable solutions. "I think we're going to find answers to those questions," concludes Wilson.

To hear the full interview with Edward O. Wilson, visit


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