6th World Mass Extinction

 May 11, 2016
 Written by
 2 Comments
African elephant

African Elephant – facing extinction

History of Mass Extinction

The data is in, and scientists have officially stated the world has entered the 6th Mass Extinction, the mother of all mass extinctions. There have been 5 extinctions in the past, but the rate of 6th is far outstripping the previous 5, to the tune of being 100 times faster than the normal rate between mass extinctions, known as the background rate. According to The Anthropocene Review, the 6th extinction differs from the last 5 in four crucial ways, all stemming from homo sapiens arriving on the scene approximately 200,000 years ago. A 6th extinction would be catastrophic because in the past, it has taken 10-30 million years to recover from a mass extinction, and by then homo sapiens would be long gone from the planet it seems.

Current Extinction Crisis is Unique

Scientists argue that the current extinction crisis is unique because of four characteristics, these being:

  1. The spread of non-native species around the world
  2. A single species taking over a significant portion of the world’s primary production
  3. Human actions increasingly directing evolution
  4. The rise of what is called the Technosphere.
White Rhinoceros - facing extinction

White Rhinoceros – facing extinction

Human Intervention

The spread of non-native species around the world has led to the global homogenisation of flora and fauna. Essentially this would not have happened without human intervention, who, through their ability to travel the world, have brought with them innumerable species to new habitats. Humans dominate the planet now; both the land and the sea. No other species can claim this distinction. One need not look far to know this is the case. Humans use up resources at a rate and in a way no other species ever has. The third point above that humans direct evolution. There is no doubt humans have domesticated animals and cultivated crops, and has been doing so for thousands of years. Geneticists today manipulate genomes by artificial selection and molecular techniques. Humans managing ecosystems as population continues to increase will have a direct effect on the evolution of species.

Technosphere

The last point is in relation to the technosphere, which has been defined as:

The global, energy consuming techno-social system that is comprised of humans, technological artifacts, and technological systems, together with the links, protocols and information that binds all these together.

In essence, the sprawling combination of humans and their technology which encompasses the whole planet. The question now is whether humans can control technology, or whether it has a life of its own. Not everyone believes the technosphere plays a role in the latest mass extinction, but there is no question of doubt that technology is now very much a part of human culture; it being somewhat difficult to imagine what life would be like without computers, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Humans are social creatures, and it is through socialization that we have spread across the planet, and there are those who argue that is socialization driving the changes on the planet being witnessed today.

Epoch Boundary

Either way, be it technology or socialization, there is no disagreement that homo sapiens are responsible for the current state of affairs. The impact humans have had on the biosphere is recognised as an epoch boundary, like between the Pliocene and Pleistocene. We are currently in the Holocene epoch. There is a sense of urgency among scientists who study climate change and ecosystems, that if we don’t act now, it might well be too late. Governments are acting, but the extent of action required is unclear. The world must rely on scientists to assess the situation correctly, and pass their assessments onto government, where decisions can be made and implemented in a co-operative environment.

References:

  1. How humans are driving the sixth mass extinction by Jeremy Hance
  2. It’s official: scientists say we’re entering Earth’s sixth mass extinction by Fiona MacDonald

 

Written by Alziel

A being seeking and pursuing knowledge and truth

2 Comments

Moons said:

It is so sad that as a species our existence brings destruction of the only home we may ever know.
We have the science and ability to correct our damage but science is held in such little value or worth acknowledging. Shamelessly leaders stand by allowing the rape and destruction of our home so fat cats void of ethics are allowed to profit however they can.
An enlightened society would not be subservient to infinitely greedy unnecessary plundering of Gaia and made to reply upon archaic fossil fuels when we know full well we already possess advanced, earth friendly technologies which would benefit mankind greatly.

Enslaved to the dollar is a primitive mindset not allowing our evolution to bloom. I say bring on worldwide financial collapse, eradicate value measured by artificial wealth and status.

Let’s all get back to issue number one. We, the brotherhood of man will not know what comprises true wealth, freely given riches, or what irreplaceable really means without acting as one, knowing we are one.
Only race i recognize is the human race, without planetary acceptance the fighting won’t end.
The respect for this miracle of life won’t be valued,different perspectives, cultures, beliefs won’t be seen as the miraculous blessings they truly are.

I do believe in the capacity of the human race to rise above and evolve as the natural flow of life follows. We can do it. But only fools will wait for these things to be noticed.

We who possess this knowledge have an obligation to humanity and every species we endanger to do all our might allows us capacity for informing, being the example, introducing the changes, and fighting for the existence of this planet and all that inhabit it.

I’ll gladly be mocked as a foolish dreamer for sharing true values, convictions, beliefs, and fights worth suffering for if only to provide the faintest of glimmers for the light of humankind.

There is no more time to await our great elected saviour to bring us to the light. For we are the light and must shine it on the path to our own salvation.

We are completely capable of accomplishing this. Just as man has displayed his capability to destroy.
There has never been a more urgent fight, but there has also never been such ease of ability to turn one mans idea into a message instantaneously available to be shared with every corner of our planet.

    Alziel said:

    There is a precipice ahead, and we will either build a bridge to cross it, or fall down it. Much change is required if planet Earth is to regain its natural balance. Man must grow consciously, and look far ahead and bring about changes to the systems humans live under in order to find the path to peace and balance in all we do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay up to date.

Sign up to our mailing list.

* indicates required