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Moving Mountains Symposium - The Extinction Crisis

Telluride Mountainfilm Plus

The Symposium was an all-day topical immersion that included presentations, panel discussions and audience Q&A.

Scientists estimate that half of all existing species on the planet will be gone by the end of the twenty-first century. They say that we…


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The Symposium was an all-day topical immersion that included presentations, panel discussions and audience Q&A.

Scientists estimate that half of all existing species on the planet will be gone by the end of the twenty-first century. They say that we are currently living during what is called the Holocene Extinction, the sixth major extinction—but the first to be caused by humans.

Festival Director David Holbrooke says, “The statistics are staggering. We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-off since the loss of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. It’s estimated that a species dies off every 20 minutes. Some scientists predict that between 30 and 50 percent of all species will be extinct by mid-century.”

This destruction of biodiversity is deeply alarming and considered by many scientists to be the paramount challenge facing the planet. E.O. Wilson has said that maintaining biodiversity—a word that did not exist twenty years ago—is the key to life continuing here. Quite honestly, we struggled with what to call this theme, a problem we did not have last year with Food. Many people are not clear about what “biodiversity” means, while “flora and fauna” seems a little soft. We’re concerned that “The Extinction Crisis” sounds too grim, but it is accurate because that is exactly what’s happening. That being said, however, there’s an enormous amount of exciting work being done to combat the crisis, much of which will be highlighted at Mountainfilm 2010.

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