The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) is the federal agency in charge of “listing” most species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). This legislation was passed in 1973 and explicitly stated its goal was “to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a ‘consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation’…”. The general purpose and specific language of the ESA has been broadly construed by federal courts over the years.
Once a species is officially listed as endangered or threatened, the ESA regulations kick in and theoretically prevent any “person” (including corporations) from performing an action that constitutes a “taking” of the species – or to “harass, harm, pursue hunt, shoot, would, kill, trap, capture or collect, or to attempt to engage in such conduct”. Federal agencies must also refrain from launching projects that potentially threaten the “continued existence” of the species.
The latter must consult with the FWS before undertaking any such projects, so it can determine whether they jeopardize the species and/or whether any mitigating alternatives are available. An individual or organization can petition the appropriate federal agency to consider a listing of a species under the ESA if the species meets at least one of the following five conditions:
1. There is the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range.
2. An over utilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes.
3. The species is declining due to disease or predation.
4. There is an inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms.
5. There are other natural or man-made factors affecting its continued existence.
The ESA has been interpreted as precluding the FWS (or other relevant agency) from considering economic costs when deciding whether or not to list a species, and they must only consider the “best scientific and commercial data available”. What would happen, then, if the FWS received a petition to list the Homo sapiens as an endangered species and to accordingly receive protection under federal regulation? I wonder what the implications of such a listing would be……
The following is a brief outline of a listing petition that SHOULD be submitted to the FWS for due consideration, and one that SHOULD be accepted for further review, and eventually notice & comment by the public. If it is not accepted, then a federal lawsuit should be filed against the FWS to compel them to consider the species for listing pursuant to the ESA, spawning the case – Homo sapien v. FWS.
Petition for Listing of the Homo sapiens (“HS”) species as an Endangered Species Pursuant to Federal Regulation of the Endangered Species Act [50 CFR 424.14(b)]
Submitted by The Automatic Earth Community on May 20, 2012.
Basic Listing Requirements are Met
1) The scientific name of the considered species is Homo sapiens, commonly referred to as a “human, human being, person, man, woman, boy or girl”.
2) It is recommended that the FWS list the HS as an Endangered Species under the ESA.
3) Humans are technically a “species” that can be listed under the ESA, since they are living beings that exist in the natural environment and interbreed when they are mature. At least 10% of the human range currently lives in “the wild”, without access to adequate shelter. There are currently more than seven billion humans alive on planet Earth, and more than 300 million (5%) existing within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
General Outline of Argument For Listing Under ESA
Upwards of 50% of this species’ range has come under the threat of near-term (within the next 50 years) extinction due to economic growth (and it’s natural collapse), untempered development, severe resource mis-allocation, air/water pollution, ecosystem degradation, energy scarcity, climate change, potential nuclear war and a variety of inter-related factors. The global financial crisis of 2007-08 has destroyed the means of subsistence (jobs, incomes, revenue streams, retirement savings, net worth, etc.) across a large portion of the species’ range, and has also led to social and political events, such as protests, riots, revolutions and militaristic repression, that have caused and will continue to cause many deaths.
Lack of access to clean water, adequate food and basic health care also contribute to many deaths every year. Sharp increases in global temperatures have intensified weather processes around the world, contributing heavily to widespread drought, famine, flood and disease. Unstable political structures and dissident groups with access to weapons of mass destruction threaten to wipe out millions, if not hundreds of millions, in any given month or year. That is especially likely to occur as economic and political structures continue to deteriorate at an accelerating pace and institutions of power become increasingly blinded by desperation.
Many of these institutions exist within a global banking framework that acts as a predator of the human species that knows NO bounds or limits to its scale and frequency of predation. Through the monetary policies of central banks such as the Federal Reserve, Bank of Japan, European Central Bank, and the “structural reform” programs of institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, millions if not billions of humans across the species’ range have been driven into poverty, dangerous slave-like working conditions, contaminated living environments (including prison), homelessness, malnutrition, civil war and starvation.
The well established scientific theory of “peak oil” predicts that much of the human range will be priced out of basic energy requirements (gas for transportation/heating, fuel for cooking, electricity for medical technology, etc.) as well as adequate food supplies, which will lead to many deaths from starvation, illness and violent conflict. The IEA officially reported that global crude oil production had peaked in 2005, and the prospects of offsetting these “unexpected” production declines with alternative modes of energy supply have less than a 5% chance of occurring.
The above issues threatening the habitat and survival of the HS species are not being addressed by ANY existing regulatory frameworks. In fact, most existing regulations and practices related to these issues, such as the Dodd-Frank Act, the Kyoto Protocol, the “War on Terror”, Quantitative Easing, Stimulus Spending, Mandated Austerity, International “Aid”, etc., are completely ineffective and/or serve to make these threats to the species much more potent than they already are. There is no serious discussion of how to mitigate these threats in any high-level public policy spheres.
Conclusion of Argument for Listing
In light of the general issues outlined above, we request that the FWS consider listing the species of homo sapiens as an endangered AND threatened species pursuant to the ESA, with all of the automatic regulatory protections that attach to such a classification. Additional data, models, studies and analysis can be provided to the FWS upon further request to supplement the above general factors that are clearly endangering the human species across a significant portion of its range.
Once listed, all private and public projects that could potentially contribute to a “taking” of the HS species should be immediately halted and reviewed. The critical habitat of the HS species must also be preserved by identifying and protecting “all lands, water and air necessary to recover the endangered species”. Given the urgency of this extinction threat to HS – a significant portion of its range could potentially be decimated or wiped out within 50 years – the FWS and other associated federal agencies must act quickly to list the species as endangered and take the necessary measures to preserve it.
Thank you for your consideration,
P.S. – If this petition is rejected or filed away in your basement somewhere without any consideration, you can bet your ass that a lawsuit will be forthcoming!
P.P.S. – Have a nice day 🙂