The Millennium ExperienceChronicle of the Future

The animals went out two by two

16.08.28: THE DAMAGE man has done to nature is so severe that it would have been better if we had fought a global nuclear war.

This startling view was put forward in this year's E O Wilson memorial lecture, delivered on WorldWeb Science by Harry Stephenson, the English biologist.

"In a few decades," he said, "we could make a full recovery from even the worst nuclear holocaust. But it will be millions of years, in which time Homo sapiens will also disappear, before nature can make amends for the mass extermination caused by human activity during the 20th century.

"Never in geological time - not even during meteor collisions - has so much been lost so rapidly."

On average, he said as a result of exploitation, habitat loss and invasion by genetically modified organisms, the world was continuing to lose two