Halloween vs. Extinction: Why a fake-pocalypse story is more about thinking deeply about the future than about spooking us all.

“Bad News, Way Up, & Out Of This World: Endangered Species Pop!” might seem like a more likely headline for the Saturday edition of Newseum’s Harry’s Weed & Veg blog than for the Nature…

Halloween vs. Extinction: Why a fake-pocalypse story is more about thinking deeply about the future than about spooking us all.

“Bad News, Way Up, & Out Of This World: Endangered Species Pop!” might seem like a more likely headline for the Saturday edition of Newseum’s Harry’s Weed & Veg blog than for the Nature Conservancy. But, that’s what the Arkploitation blog speculated in a recently published article that tracks the cult-like casting of a horrific villain known as ghoul Halloween. The Arkploitation writers found that when it comes to the creatures currently on the extinctions list, this popular scare story feels more like parlor trick than primal truth.

“Halloween seems to be all about myths and devil movies (say hello to 1981’s ‘Re-Animator’), but today’s plagues are most often the result of land-use change, climate change, or just plain abandonment of an ecosystem,” they explain. “Sure, many ghouls are rampaging rhinoceroses or antelopes: the infamous ‘Suge’ Knight is currently threatening rhinos with a blowtorch, while Bob Dylan has plundered the hippo’s habitat. But it’s not these giants that are at the top of the list when it comes to disappearing animals, but smaller creatures that are affected by climate change: As rising seas wash over rooftops, every species connected to these marshes has become threatened.”

The Nature Conservancy tends to agree. According to a September article on their website, that volunteer-run conservation organization focuses on the specific, individual threats of endangered species as they “sit at the intersection of human impacts and the planet’s vulnerability to climate change.” And, sometimes, that simplicity is sometimes shockingly wicked.

Here’s a video about the Nature Conservancy that looks at species that have a lack of habitat and a lack of human interaction, as well as species that have high rates of hunting and dramatic rates of extinction. The Natural World? Not just a movie.

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