If you were asked to make a list of all the things you take for granted in life, biodiversity would probably fall far short of the top 10. However, according to new research, biodiversity may face severe threats in the next 300 to 2,000 years due to human activity.
A mass extinction is defined as a short period of time on Earth (roughly 1,000 to a couple million years) when over 75% of Earth’s species become extinct. There have been five such events in Earth’s history so far, the last being the period that characterized the extinction of the dinosaurs. Species frequently go extinct through natural population dynamics on Earth, yet constant evolution yields new ones that maintain a safe balance in the system. With current trends in human activity, however, this balance may soon disappear. In essence, we are on the verge of a sixth mass extinction.
This sort of loss in biodiversity would devastate ecosystems worldwide and cause an uncountable number of drastic problems for mankind. Personally, I would find the loss of penguins most devastating. According to researchers, climate change, habitat loss, pollution, and overfishing are the primary reasons for the loss in biodiversity. Solutions include reducing our consumption of fossil fuels and supporting habitat preservation worldwide.
Although it may seem like a distant issue, nothing could be further from the truth. The generations yet to come should not be born into a world threatened by such a devastating wave of extinctions, let alone climate change.
* Photo courtesy of The Sydney Morning Herald. Reference: FoxNews.com