Guest post by Rebecca Pryor
For the majority of us out there, the question of mass extinctions through time is hardly a priority in our minds. After all, we have our own busy hectic lives to manage on a daily basis. We may have had a cursory look at them in our Geography class several years ago, but that is about the extent of it. It is a phrase that has been buried in the deep recesses of our minds for a while now, but we need to bring it out to the consciousness of most people out there. Why so? The main reason is to ensure that people are aware of the sheer possibilities of such a colossal disaster taking place in the world of today. The question of mass extinctions over time is especially relevant in a period when we have a renewed focus and added urgency to address the question of global climate change before it’s too late to prevent the next mass extinction event.
What’s different about today’s mass extinction threat?
While mentioning mass extinctions, it is important to note that they have happened five times over the course of the Earth’s history. What’s more disturbing is that scientists have found enough evidence proving that a good three-quarters of all species have vanished in every instance. After all, that is the true definition of a mass extinction event in totality. The only difference is that the sixth mass extinction would end up being caused by us humans. In the past several decades, we have annihilated more than half of our planet’s flora and fauna and things are only getting worse. It is imperative that more and more people become aware of this dire fact in order to ensure that the tide of extinction can be reversed before it is too late.
On that note, a few scientists have come to the depressing conclusion that it is already too late and we have truly passed the point of no return. However, since there is no thorough evidence to prove the validity of this view, the very least we can do is make ourselves more aware of our devastating actions towards the climate and other animals and take necessary action right now. Here are five small ways you can take action now to help prevent the sixth mass extinction:-
3 ways to prevent mass extinction now
Reduce the burning of fossil fuels: This is underlying the obvious and cannot be stressed enough. Doing so is only going to warm the atmosphere to the point where a runaway greenhouse effect will take place, causing the overall temperature of the Earth to rise to a substantial level. This, in turn, has led to overheating of the oceans, rising of sea levels as well as the large-scale destruction of coral reefs.
Reconnect with nature and protect the Earth’s landmasses and oceans: The latter point needs to be undertaken on a war footing. Not only have we used up more than 40% of land for raising livestock and farms, but only 15% of the land and 4% of the world’s oceans are protected. That is clearly not enough at all. Plus, only by connecting and understanding nature more deeply will we see the extinction crisis for what it truly is.
Stand up to illegal wildlife trafficking: Animals like the tiger, rhino and elephant are being slaughtered simply because their body parts are in great demand in some parts of the world and people are willing to pay huge prices for them. Not only do the poachers need to be stopped, but most importantly, people need to stop buying these animal goods as well.
Most of all, if you are decently aware of mass extinctions and how they have shaped up the course of our history and our planet at large, then you would be only-too-aware of how devastating their impact can be. It is quite unnerving to note that the entirety of human civilization has occurred within a span of time where there have been no mass extinctions of any kind. Perhaps we have the age of our planet to thank for that.
Moreover, a few bits of evidence even suggest that there is a particular pattern to mass extinction events in the past leading a lot of experts to believe that it is a cyclic process, repeating itself every few tens of thousands of years. Had the human race come about more than a million years ago, we almost certainly would have been wiped out by an extinction event. Before making the arrogant mistake of thinking that we are the most dominant and apex species on the planet, it would be wise for us to keep this factor in mind so that we stay grounded and ensure that all of us collectively do the needful when it comes to protecting species from extinction.
Rebecca Pryor is managing director of A&A Skip Hire –one of North London’s leading providers of domestic and commercial skips.