“Functionally Extinct” – November 27, 2019


The last few weeks have taken a toll in Australia, as fires have ravaged the land. You may have seen articles in the news that went viral recently – stating that koalas have become “functionally extinct.” There is no doubt that what has happened in Australia is terrible. My heart goes out to the koalas! But we need to be careful about facts and over exaggeration. As a scientist, I have been taught to be objective – to weigh the evidence, to be skeptical – always. If people are to trust us as scientists, then this is absolutely crucial! Making big claims such as “functionally extinct” for koalas, as well as using a sick or injured polar bear as the “poster child” for climate change is misleading (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/…/explore-through-the-l…/ ). Kudos to National Geographic for eventually owning up to it.

Is climate change happening? Yes. Is it because of us? Yes. Should we be doing something about it? Absolutely. We live in an era where it is becoming harder and harder to discern the truth in popular media. And stretching the scientific truth for the sake of galvanizing action: this goes against what science should be – objective and evidence-based. Let’s remain true to that. Let’s take action on climate change with the facts in hand.

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