“We will either settle down as a species or completely wreck the planet.”That grim prognostication from esteemed biologist and longtime Harvard professor Edward O. Wilson kicked off his assessment of the problems and possible solutions facing humanity and the many species with which we share planet Earth.Wilson described several problems that collectively result in extinction rates today that are 1,000 times the natural background rate. Overpopulation, overharvesting, habitat destruction, invasive species, and pollution are all taking their toll. With human populations continuing to climb, pressures promise to increase. At the root of those problems is our inability to master our own urges and moderate our grasping for the resources of the natural world. Wilson said humanity is ruled by Paleolithic emotions, is guided by medieval institutions, and is wielding godlike power over the natural world, which he termed a dangerous combination.“The radical reduction in the world’s biodiversity is a folly our descendants will never forgive us for,” Wilson said.Wilson spoke Monday evening (April 5) in Sanders Theatre in the first of three John M. Prather Lectures in Biology, “Biodiversity and the Future of Biology.” The lectures are sponsored by the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Delivered on consecutive days, they are the most distinguished lectures at Harvard in the biological sciences. The final two are at 4 p.m. in the Science Center and will address “The Superorganism” and “Consilience.”With climate change pointing so much scientific attention toward the planet’s physical world, Wilson cautioned it’s important that the biological world and biodiversity not be forgotten.It’s striking, he said, just how little is actually known about life on Earth. He directed students in the audience toward mycology, the study of fungi, as a field in which they’d be able to make great progress, since so little is known. The world’s roughly 60,000 known fungal species are just a fraction of the estimated 1.5 million. Similarly, he described the study of microscopic life as a veritable “black hole” because so little is known.Life exists from the deepest oceanic depths to the highest mountains, in superheated water from undersea vents and in corrosive runoff from abandoned mines. Life is possible wherever there is water, he said, and so could exist in the buried frosts of Mars, in the suspected oceans of Jupiter’s moon Europa, and on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.Wilson highlighted several efforts to promote biodiversity and knowledge of life on Earth, including the online Encyclopedia of Life, which seeks to document life in a way accessible to all, and a new online library that seeks to make accessible biodiversity-related works in several major libraries.Wilson said he believes that the 21st century will be known as the Century of the Environment and that, despite the ongoing destruction, many people are working to preserve the world’s biodiversity.He promoted a plan to use just one-thousandth of the gross domestic product of all nations to conserve global biodiversity hotspots and large chunks of rainforest. That one-time payment would save half the planet’s species, he suggested.“This is a problem that can be solved,” Wilson said.
Share Share LifestyleTravel Regional airline to utilise new satellite tracking and communication systems by: – October 20, 2011 LA JOLLA, USA — The Caribbean’s newest low fare airline, REDjet, will use a fleet management and automated flight tracking satellite system provided by Blue Sky Network.REDjet’s aircraft [MD-82s] currently fly to Barbados, Trinidad, and Guyana and will service Jamaica and Antigua from November (with new routes being added regularly). It will use Blue Sky Network’s Iridium-based solutions to track every flight over the Caribbean Sea, as well as to maintain constant contact with pilots and operators.“When our existing communication system proved to be obsolete, the search began for a replacement that was competitively priced, had all the functionality, and wouldn’t require major modifications on our aircraft,” said REDjet’s chief operations officer, Kevin Dudley. “Blue Sky worked with our engineering department to come up with an installation plan; the end result has been one very satisfied customer. As part of REDjet’s unwavering commitment to the safety of our passengers, crew and aircraft, we conducted extensive searches for the appropriate technology and are confident that Blue Sky is the right fit.”The solution being used across REDjet’s fleet is Blue Sky Network’s FAA-approved D1000C tracking unit with the ACH1000 (the latter enables voice and text messages to be sent via the Iridium network). Tracking data will be viewed on SkyRouter, Blue Sky Network’s pioneering, web-based tracking portal.“We’re thrilled to have REDjet on board,” said Blue Sky Network CEO and founder, Jon Gilbert. “The D1000C with ACH is an ideal fit both for the REDjet planes and, as importantly, for where REDjet flies, a part of the world where satellite tracking solutions like ours are the only way to track and communicate with aircraft, and help ensure people’s safety and asset security.”Caribbean News Now Share 28 Views no discussions Tweet Sharing is caring!