More and more plant and animal species are being added to the roster of the extinct and endangered every single day. In fact, many biologists speculate Earth is dangerously close to a sixth mass extinction event, meaning more than 3/4ths of the species on the planet could be in danger of extinction. As it stands now planet earth is undergoing the worst extinction event since the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million.
Unlike the other five mass extinction events to take place in the last 500 million years have all been caused by some massive environmental impetus. Such as volcanoes or meteors. For the first time, the sixth mass extinction is completely human caused. Specifically climate change, the destruction of native habitats, ocean acidification, are some of the main drivers. All of this has led to a catastrophic loss in global biodiversity, and it’s not clear that trend can be reversed.
The Center for Biological Diversity released a statement which stated the dangers quite frankly. “Nobody really knows how many species are in danger of becoming extinct. Noted conservationist David Wilcove estimates that there are 14,000 to 35,000 endangered species in the United States, which is 7 to 18 percent of American flora and fauna. The IUCN has assessed roughly 3 percent of described species and identified 16,928 species worldwide as being threatened with extinction, or roughly 38% of those assessed.
Most astonishingly the statement claimed, “the IUCN reports that the world won’t meet a goal of reversing the extinction trend toward species depletion. What’s clear is that thousands of species are at risk of disappearing forever in the coming decades.”
Human activity has caused this problem and changing that activity is the only way to solve that problem. Unfortunately inadequate response to report after report is probably pretty telling, it’s hard to see adequate solutions to these extinctions being taken seriously anytime soon.
Even though biodiversity plays an incredibly important role in maintaining a stable society, it is not often treated with that level of importance.