Now for the Sixth Great Extinction!

Posted on by Mark Nykanen

In the even that you needed more confirmation, three major universities have now concluded that we’ve entered a new period of great extinction, Earth’s sixth.  Researchers at Stanford, Princeton, and Berkeley reported that vertebrates, which includes those of us walking around upright on two legs, are disappearing at a rate 114 times faster than normal.  Since 1900, about 400 vertebrates have disappeared.  To put that in perspective, humankind in the past 100-plus years has experienced an   extinction rate that previously would have taken more 10,000 years.

To look at it yet another way, Earth’s overall extinction rate is basically 100 times greater than during non-mass extinction periods.  Bees, for instance, so essential to the propagation of crops, could be, well, history in three human generations.

The study, published in Science Advances journal, lays the responsibility for the Sixth Great Extinction on climate change, pollution, and deforestation.  Let’s see, what do those three factors have in common?  Humans.  So we need to own up to our role and perhaps, just maybe–you think?–perform a pirouette as a species.  A turnaround of one sort or another is coming.

The BBC has a cogent account of the study, which quotes Stanford’s professor Paul Ehrlich:  “There are examples of species all over the world that are essentially the walking dead.”  And you thought all the zombies were all on cable.

One more quote from Ehrlich:  “We are sawing off the limbs that we are sitting on.”

The Beeb:  http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33209548

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