Mass Extinction

Topics: Extinction, Timeline of extinctions, Human Pages: 5 (1761 words) Published: April 25, 2013
‘The Earth is experiencing a sixth mass extinction, brought on by the proliferation of humanity and its activities of production and consumption. ... The was in which the capital system operates makes a mockery of the necessity of economising. Indeed, it pursues everywhere with utmost irresponsibility the opposite of economy: total wastefulness. It is this profit-seeking wastefulness that directly endangers the very survival of humanity (and other creatures that share the planet with us)’ (Jone, 2009:313). In the following essay I will be discussing the concept of the sixth extinction. My essay will be considering why humans are to blame for this extinction event and i will be discussing the historical and socio-economical developments that have led to this state of affairs. Mass extinction is considered to be a large number of species within a relatively short period of geological time, thought to be due to factors such as a disastrous global event or widespread environmental change that occurs too rapidly for most species to adapt. The sixth mass extinction is different from the others because, At first glance, the physically caused extinction events of the past might seem to have little or nothing to tell us about the current Sixth Extinction, which is a patently human-caused event. For there is little doubt that humans are the direct cause of ecosystem stress and species destruction in the modern world through such activities as much as transformation of the landscape overexploitation of species pollution the introduction of alien species. The Sixth Extinction would seem to be the first recorded global extinction event that has a biotic, rather than a physical, cause. What makes this extinction of our civilisation different from those before it, ‘is the effect one species is having on evolutionary process’ (Jones, 2009:313). Humans are, without their intention, changing the process of evolution of new species. ‘The development of new species and their resilience in the face of future threats of extinction will be influenced by the ongoing activities of homo sapiens or by their extinction’ (Jones, 2009:313). The Earth, within a billion years, will no longer be able to support life of any kind. ‘We are in the midst of an extinction level event brought about by the activities of our own species, and the impact f this mass extinction will affect the resilience of species and the form of biotic recovery from the future mass extinction’ (Jones, 2009: 314). The effects of human behaviour are deep on the biodiversity and evolutionary processes. Some people have labelled extinction to be the anthropocene era. ‘This has been called the Holocene Extinction Event, brought about by the activities of humans and the proliferation of our species’ (Jones, 2009:314) If the human civilisation continues with consumption and the mass production in the manner that we continuing to do so, it is estimated that one-third to two-thirds of all species will be extinct. The human race is destroying the wild food sources, natural habitats, soil and the biological diversity. The loss of the forest is a loss to the human race because it provides us with so many of our resources. The forest provides us with our ‘ecosystem services such as protecting our watersheds, protecting soil against erosion, constituting essential steps in the water cycle that generates much of our rainfall and providing habitat for most terrestrial plant and animal species. Deforestation was or the major factor in all the collapses of past societies’ (Diamond, 2004:487). Wetlands and oceans been destroyed by the human race. This is a downfall because it helps maintain the quality of our water supplies and the existence of commercial freshwater fisheries. Even the ocean fisheries depend on the wetlands to provide for many ocean species. One-third of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed already. Due to our way of over grazing the environment, ‘soil of farmlands used...
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