Led by Harvard University’s E.O. Wilson, ten prominent scientists in biology and other environmental fields called on the U.S. Senate to strengthen the Endangered Species Act, rather than heed industry calls to weaken it, in order to help stem a worldwide mass extinction crisis.
The letter stands in stark contrast to a report by House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo opposing the Act, noting instead the law’s success as an “alarm system” and bulwark against the finality of extinction.
“The Endangered Species Act represents our nation’s most determined effort to take responsibility for preserving its precious biological diversity. By offering strict federal protections to the species that are included on the list, the government has drawn a line which it will not allow human pressures to cross over. That line is extinction,” the letter reads.
“In both its scope and its irreversibility, extinction is the most frightening, most conclusive word in our language. When a species has been declared extinct, not only have all its individuals died, but the possibility of any such individuals ever existing again has been foreclosed. The variety of life with which we share the earth is sadly in rapid decline. Life is grounded in biological diversity, and the fate of this diversity, which created and sustains us, is now in our hands.”
The letter is signed by E.O. Wilson (Harvard University), Jared Diamond (UCLA), Paul R. Ehrlich (Stanford University), Harold Mooney (Stanford University), Stuart Pimm (Duke University), Daniel Simberloff (University of Tennessee), Peter Raven (Missouri Botanical Gardens & University of Missouri), Gordon Orians (University of Washington), David Wilcove (Princeton University), and James T. Carlton (Williams College-Mystic Seaport).
Pombo is a California Representative who has claimed the ESA is ineffective because species stay listed so long.
Only 9 of 1800 species have gone extinct.
That’s damn good work. They stay on the list for a long time because they aren’t going extinct.