The recent number quoted by the WWF & Zoological Society of London for species-population decline was startling; and mentioned briefly in my last reflective. But again the sceptics pose the questions, what does this really mean – and what if the sample used was not representative? It has been argued that the animal populations which enjoy our attention and are within easy reach do not represent populations in remote less accessible areas, less affected by the activities of man. And that areas which have experienced significant decline tend to be those areas in which we have been active. I would beg the question – “Where exactly is untouched by the influence of man?”.
From a statistical point of view however, it does stand to reason that if population data happened to have been chiefly weighted towards, gathered and extrapolated from easily accessible well monitored areas then the sample would not be representative – and would inflate the perceived outcomes on global losses. It would appear that we need to be [certain] that we have monitored every nook and cranny of the earth’s surface before we can rely on the “52% in 40 years” figures.
So what the figure of 52% really tells us is that populations that are being monitored are in big trouble, not necessarily that all animals on the planet have reduced by 52% in 40 years. I now wonder how our “higher intelligences” would grade this notion – not as bad or not bad enough?
Lack of certainty should never be a reason for non-action – and achieving a state of ‘absolute certainty’ would – in this case more than most owing to time-delay – certainly be achieving a state of ‘being absolutely too late’. The precautionary principle says that “If you are uncertain about something – a risk, and the potential negative consequences are grave to ruinous, then the risk is not worth taking – choose instead another option which based on available knowledge carries a less grave risk”. As the degree of certainty is continuous and not discrete, and never absolute even in death, certainly, precaution in spite of uncertainty is proportional.
All I’m trying to say, all I’m trying to ask is – How will we choose today, for less grave possible future outcomes based on the information at hand?
“What I can do today to avoid ‘the grave’?”
Kinda – one small step by yourself, one at a time.
“OK got it. And tell a friend right.”
“Be more beautiful, avoid the grave and tell a friend.”