The Wealth of Species

Although broad scientific consensus has identified the loss of biological diversity as one of the world's most severe environmental threats, public recognition of the scale of the danger is lagging. Ecologists and other environmental scientists bear some of the blame for failing to make their concerns meaningful to ordinary people. But their challenge is made more difficult by nay-sayers who claim that fears about declining biodiversity are a tree-huggers' conspiracy to elevate Nature above people.

Nothing could be further from the truth: the threat to biodiversity can mean the loss of critical features of humanity's life-support systems, and therefore threatens our personal and economic well-being. Remedial action can no longer be delayed.

Those who maintain that the biodiversity crisis is manufactured, or at least over-hyped, often point to the sometimes exaggerated estimates of extinction rates that appear in the press. Critics seize upon these embellishments to argue that there is really not much of a problem.

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