"We are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event."

Humans among first casualties

#Environment

Sat, Jun 27th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Researchers at the universities of Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley have released a report noting that Earth has entered a new period of extinction. Reportedly, vertebrates are disappearing "at a rate 114 times faster than normal," with humans expected to be "among the first casualties."

The evidence is incontrovertible that recent extinction rates are unprecedented in human history and highly unusual in Earth’s history. Our analysis emphasizes that our global society has started to destroy species of other organisms at an accelerating rate, initiating a mass extinction episode unparalleled for 65 million years. If the currently elevated extinction pace is allowed to continue, humans will soon (in as little as three human lifetimes) be deprived of many biodiversity benefits. On human time scales, this loss would be effectively permanent because in the aftermath of past mass extinctions, the living world took hundreds of thousands to millions of years to rediversify. 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 (31–33). All of these are related to human population size and growth, which increases consumption (especially among the rich), and economic inequity (6). However, the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

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