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Planet In Crisis: Mass Extinctions

Extinction is not something we should grow accustomed to. But it is a grave reality. We have now reached the sixth mass extinction of both plans and animals.

Sixth mass extinction
Image by National Vanguard.org

Even if extinction is considered to be a natural phenomenon, the Earth is losing animals and plants 1,000 times faster than the anticipated number. This means that dozens of species are going extinct every day. It’s expected that there will only be 30 to 50% of species that will live by the mid-century. Thus, this will break the chain of food supply and creating huge repercussions to the ecosystem.

HUMAN ACTIVITIES AS THE ROOT CAUSE

What’s more alarming is that the cause of extinction didn’t arise from volcanic eruptions or climate shifts. Unlike what happened billion years ago, the rapid death of species was caused by humans. It is through the mundane activities that we think is completely normal and harmless that animals and plants lose their habitat. Their loss leads to creation of exotic species and increases the adverse effects global warming.

The existence of every animal, may it be tiny or huge, largely contributes to the stability of the ecosystem. So their extinction can create a gap in the food chain supply. This gap can reverberate in the imbalance of the ecosystem. With this dysfunction, slowly, the ecosystem loses flora and fauna species. This eventually leads to other species to disappear from the record of living animals and/or plants.

RISING EXTINCTION TOLLS

Scientists found out that animals under the Amphibian family are rapidly increasing in extinction. Currently, its 6,300 species are already in endangerment. You may not know this, but frogs, toads and salamanders that you grew up with are actually becoming extinct. They have lost their homes with human expansion towards their areas. Worse, the water and air have become polluted because of chemicals produced by machineries invented over time. These animals cannot also withstand harmful UV rays and above normal changes in climate.

Birds also showed depletion wherein 31% or 251 out of its 800 species are already on conservation. The decrease in their population can affect how we track the changes in the biosphere of the planet. Fish, one of our major sources of energy and nutrients, is also now considered on the line of endangerment due to the high demand of water globally. The high global demand for water and marine resources leave little to none food and habitat for these species. Shark and rays which used to scare us growing up are also reported to be extinct as they are illegally exported in some parts of the world.

Butterflies, corals, and earthworms that all belong to the invertebrates family are already facing extinction. Moreover, 90% of the primates, considered as the closest relatives of humans, are also already endangered. Monkeys, tarsiers, and lemurs are disappearing fast with 50% of it are already at risk of becoming extinct. Reptiles also have been reported to be susceptible to extinction with 32 of its kind already endangered due to the creation of establishments that used to be their home and source of food.

Not only animals are affected, but plants as well. As you may know plants provide oxygen that we breathe in and food that we consume on a daily basis. Plants are also good ingredients for medicine however, more than 13 thousand of it are to become extinct.

IS IT TOO LATE?

With carbon dioxide continuously affecting plants and animals, it is expected that the adverse impact of this will be more visible in three to four decades. It’s never too late to start assessing your lifestyle and begin in conserving what is left on the planet by becoming the catalyst yourself.




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