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Sixth Mass Extinction

Two elephants look directly at the camera


#climate change #Extinction #terminology #Wildlife


Doug Fogelson

The current mass extinction, the sixth that humans have been able to track via geological records, is well underway at a rate that is exponentially faster than the previous five. Lifeforms that are going or have become extinct range from very small to very large creatures, tiny bacteria and fungi to all manner of flora and fauna, even megafauna. Factors that lead to extinction are habitat destruction, climate change, overexploitation, and disease, all of which can now be directly linked to human activity. Deforestation, agriculture, overfishing/overhunting, pollution of the land, air, sea, and the introduction of invasive species are causes of the factors listed above. This is a global condition, happening today across all regions of the planet in different ways.

One of the most experiential ways to experience and connect with what is being lost and what we can still do is through Maya Lin’s incredible interactive website “What Is Missing.” On this website, you can see the wide range of species in detail, explore conservation/restoration/energy solutions, share a memory yourself directly, and envision “what if” for a future that utilized those smart solutions.

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  • The rate of extinction of species during the current mass extinction is estimated to be 100 to 1,000 times higher than the background extinction rate.

    True Yes. We are in the midst of this huge loss of biodiversity currently. False No, we are alive to witness this period even as so many lifeforms are not.