Wiltshire Publications

World population problems talk at Westbury Probus

OUR latest guest speaker, Robin Miller, a favourite speaker at Probus,  gave us a talk entitled,   Earth’s Greatest Extinctions.

Little did we know how serious this topic was or how it would impact on our lives today and into the future.

Robin explained that there had been five great extinctions, on a mass scale, in the history of the world . He told us that it is estimated that 99.9% of all species who have lived on the earth are now extinct. As each catastrophic event occurred the flora and fauna had three options, to move, to adapt or to die.

These great extinctions were caused by events  like giant asteroids/meteors impacting with the earth causing mega tsunamis etc. It was this type of event that killed off the world’s population of  dinosaurs.  The sites of these impacts can be detected in modern times by aerial satellite imaging, by using geographical evidence, by fossil evidence and carbon dating among other things.

From discussing the extinctions of the past Robin moved on to today and the future. It is already known  that the world is becoming overpopulated. 7.3 billion in 2012 and rising rapidly. We know that of all the world’s total  surface area only 12% of it is habitable and this is reducing as deserts spread, as seas rise and as soil erosion increases.

Man is overharvesting both the seas and the land. Pushing CO2 into the atmosphere and at the same time,  clearing tens of thousands of acres of forest.

Robin’s conclusion, if the governments of this earth don’t sort out the known problems caused by politicians and global corporations, among others, and things carry on as they are, then, maybe, the world will sort it out for us. Another mass extinction…

The reaction of the Probus members at the end of Robin’s presentation was to sit there for 20 seconds or so, saying nothing, as we all absorbed the information given. This was then followed by a large round of applause.

Chairman Chris Saunders brought the meeting to a close by announcing the date of the next meeting, Tuesday 15th March at 10am at the URC Church Hall. The speaker will be Sarah Buttenshaw. Subject, ‘A Walk Through Venice’.

Bruce Hewitson