Tag: extinction

Background Briefing: February 13, 2019


The Lead Author of the New Study on the Extinction of Insects

We begin with the alarming new study published in the journal Biological Conservation which predicts large scale extinction of insect species as a result of loss of habitat due to agricultural practices, urbanization and deforestation. Francisco Sanchez-Bayo, an environmental scientist and ecologist at the University of Sydney, Australia, joins us to discuss his study which he is the lead author of that finds bees, ants, beetles, butterflies and dragonflies are disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds and reptiles. Furthermore they provide food for birds and other small mammals and they pollinate around 75% of the crops grown around the world as well as replenishing soils. And while we face both a climate change crisis and a biodiversity crisis in which human activity is threatening the planet itself as well as causing the loss of 83% of all wild mammals, the collapse of insects would cause a bottom-up cascade like removing the base of a pyramid. And although we can identify with majestic endangered animals like elephants and panthers, insects are small, creepy bugs people don’t like and that attitude has to change before we lose the bees and the butterflies and end up with cockroaches and flies inheriting what’s left of the earth.


How We Must Come Together and Join “Team Human”

Then award-winning author, broadcaster, and documentarian who studies human autonomy in the digital age, Douglas Rushkoff, joins us. Named one of the world’s ten most influential intellectuals by MIT, he is a research fellow of the Institute for the Future and founder of the Laboratory for Digital Humanism at the City University of New York and the author of the new book, just out “Team Human”. We will discuss how our technologies, markets, and cultural institutions – once forces for human connection and expression – now isolate and repress us and if we are to resist and survive we must come together and recognize that being human is a team sport.


Manafort, a Russian Asset, Doing the Kremlin’s Bidding

Then finally, with a federal judge today ruling that Paul Manafort lied to federal prosecutors, we get an update on the latest revelations inside the Mueller investigation exposed in court filings on Friday which indicate a key meeting on August 2, 2016 between Trump’s top campaign official Paul Manafort and his deputy in Ukraine, a Russian Military Intelligence officer Konstantin Kilimnik, goes to “the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating” according to Andrew Weismann one to Mueller’s top investigators. Anders Aslund, who knows both Manafort and Kilimnik and worked as a Swedish diplomat in Moscow and was an economic adviser to the governments of Ukraine and Russia, joins us to discuss the extent to which Manafort was a Russian asset doing the Kremlin’s bidding.