Stopping the next great extinction could cost just $11.42 per person per year

Oct 18, 2012 by

 Grist

By Sarah Laskow

If a person has spent an unusual amount of time in the pre-lunch hours looking at pictures of sushi (ahem), it might seem like a good idea to order some for lunch. If that person lives in Brooklyn and wants to get the sushi delivered, the minimum amount it will cost is $12.

That’s a pretty reasonable amount of money to spend on lunch in New York City. It’s also about how much money it would cost (per person in the world, per year) to stop any species from ever going extinct ever again.

This is according to a new study in Science, which estimates that it would cost $80 billion per year to stop extinction. A small portion of this amount of money ($4 billion) would go towards “reducing the extinction” risk of threatened species. And the rest would go towards protecting critical habitats.

It’s a lot of money, but if you divide it all up, it comes out $11.42 per person per year. We’re not sure who will collect or distribute the money, but maybe someone will post a Kickstarter, and until then I guess you can just keep your contribution in a jar.

Obviously not every country has the resources to cough up that kind of dough, but it’s still rather small when you consider that this could be all it takes to stop the sixth great extinction. Which, yeah, your sushi habit is contributing to. So, really, what’s a better use of 12 bucks? Sushi or species preservation? I’m going with species preservation (and making an eggplant sandwich).

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