How to Prevent the Sixth Mass Extinction
The Christian Science Monitor
June 20, 2015
This planet has entered a new period of mass extinction and human beings are chiefly to blame, a new study says.
But these same scientists say that there is a path that will avoid a true sixth mass extinction by employing aggressive conservation efforts.
“This will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species and to alleviate pressures on their populations - notably habitat loss, overexploitation for economic gain, and climate change,” the researchers from the universities of Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley said in a report. But, they note, that this window of opportunity rapidly closing.
The activities precipitating the collapse of many species and ecosystems are related to human population size and growth which increases consumption and economic inequity.
According to the researchers, if the currently elevated extinction pace persists, humanity will soon (in as little as three human lifetimes) be deprived of many biodiversity benefits. This means that the Earth’s ecosystem is likely to lose much of its ability to provide important life-support systems, from pollinating crops to cleaning and recirculating air and water
During the past century, industrialization has meant humanity has burned through eons worth of fossilized sunshine, changing the climate for all species. According to the Scientific American, humans use more than half of the planet’s land for cities, logging, or food, eliminating the habitats of other animals and plants.