Why planet Earth is in the middle of its SIXTH mass extinction…
For the most part, the impact of mankind on earth has mostly gone unnoticed. But over the last few decades, it has become an ever-growing concern. At this point in time (2019), things have now become critical. Really, critical. Therefore, it’s crucial for us to start making specific changes to reverse this. That’s the whole purpose behind this post. In this article, we’ll be talking about the sixth mass extinction event currently taking place. So, it’s important to highlight the sheer extent of the loss of species on earth. But also, the specific human activities which are driving this extinction event. However, with any amount of luck, we should be able to salvage it just in time. Let’s get straight to the facts below!
Destruction of species now out of control
A UNESCO body has put forward a report to the Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). This report is based on the work of hundreds of experts from all over the world. In summary, humans have been over-exploiting the earth’s natural resources over the last 50 years. But more importantly, there are now proven links between climate change and loss of biodiversity. Climate change isn’t anything new and has been difficult enough to control.
Now, there’s evidence that it’s actively contributing to the extinction of living organisms. As a result, plant and animal diversity is declining at a seriously alarming rate. The current rate of species loss is more than 100X what it has ever been. In fact, it’s so severe that about a million species now face extinction within a few decades. This represents about a quarter of the 8.7 million known species on Earth. Yes, that’s really serious indeed. Some would even argue that the Earth is currently experiencing its sixth mass extinction event.
Why the extinction is happening
If we want to stand any chance of recovery, we must take radical actions within the next 10 years. To that end, there are 5 main driving forces behind this species extinction:
Changes in land (and sea) usage
Invasion by foreign species
However, there are two other factors in addition to the ones above. These are the growing world population and increasing food demand. A bigger population means that we have to use more land for building and agriculture. Increased farming, building construction and deforestation then result in further destruction of natural habitats. But we haven’t even touched the use of agriculture for pharmaceutical purposes. About 4 billion people right now depend on plant-based medicines. So, all in all, we are using the earth’s resources in excessive amounts. But most importantly, they can’t be replaced fast enough to keep up with us. That’s exactly why almost half of land ecosystems have been severely altered by human actions in the last 50 years.
The global average temperature has also gone up significantly over the last 10 years. Now, most people assume that climate change is the only consequence of this. But in reality, that’s actually far from the truth. The Earth’s climate patterns directly affect and influence the habitats of various organisms. Therefore, changes in global temperature and weather will threaten the survival of many species. The effects might not be immediate, but they will manifest themselves over time. This is partly why many organisms on Earth are disappearing… really, really fast.
Pollution and foreign species
But then, even if global temperatures weren’t rising, we still have the issue of pollution. Humans produce so much waste from a wide range of sources. Trust me when I say this: it’s not going to be slowing down anytime soon. Among them are greenhouse gases, toxic chemicals, plastic waste and vehicle exhaust fumes. That’s just to mention a very few. Then you have to also consider all the waste that ends up in our oceans. Since the year 1980, marine pollution has increased more than 10X. The ocean is home to thousands and thousands of marine organisms. So, even aquatic species are under threat from human activity.
Last of all it’s worth highlighting the impact of foreign species. Now, we aren’t always directly responsible for this, but it does contribute. If a certain organism gets to a foreign land/habitat, this can be a real problem. They could sometimes threaten the survival of the indigenous organisms. This is particularly true if they have a certain selective advantage (s). Over time, the original organisms could eventually be “weeded out” by nature. All of these are why we are in the middle of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction.
From everything in this post, you can see how serious the problem is. God created humans and put us in charge of the Earth. That’s why we have intelligence beyond that of any other creature. Therefore, we also have a duty to take care of the planet God has given to us. Yes… we never intended for this to happen, but we need to wake up now.
The sooner we take action, the more likely it is we’ll get things back under control. But that’s still going to be A LOT of work and it needs to be a worldwide effort. To that end, I have already written a very similar post on this. As for now, spreading the news is simply the best thing to do. So, if you enjoyed reading this, please comment below and share with everyone!