We’re Currently Living Through Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction, And This Time It’s Our Fault

Image: P.Lindgren, Wikimedia Commons

Unlike past mass extinctions, which have typically been driven by natural disasters, scientists confirm humans are responsible for the current eradication of our planet’s species. 

Researchers estimate that dozens of species are going extinct every day, leading to possibly the worst wide-scale extinction since the dinosaurs, and the sixth mass extinction in the past half billion years.

Mongabay reports that humans are wiping species off the planet at a rate at least 100 times faster than historical levels. And this is based on highly conservative data, put together recently in the journal Science Advances. 

The harshest facet of this research is the unavoidable fact that human impact is the ultimate cause of this crisis. Habitat degradation, resource depletion, and pollution are all contributing aspects of climate change, which is the driving factor behind this event.

Image: Yathin S. Krishnappa

A growing population and related issues including invasive species are depleting biodiversity. The living world initially took millions of years to diversify and the accelerating rate at which we are reversing this is an imminent threat to mankind.

And this is all based on conservative data — the severity of the situation is much more serious. IUCN data published in a study in Biodiversity and Conservation matches the conclusions unveiled by research published in Science Advances. Scientists are expressing mounting concerns because the window to act is becoming increasingly smaller. 

“Avoiding a true sixth mass extinction 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. All of these are related to human population size and growth, which increases consumption (especially among the rich), and economic inequity. However, the window of opportunity is rapidly closing,” study authors stated in Science Advances.