The Destruction of Biodiversity
Why should you care? You should care, because there exists a chain to which all life is linked. Humans stand not apart, and there is no beginning or end. Extinction is like a trickling stream that grows to threaten riverbanks before drowning the world with oceans. We are foolish and naïve to assume that our creek can be maintained as we constantly introduce new species into foreign ecosystems, and destroy biodiversity with the detrimental effects of human integration which many environments and habitats simply cannot withstand. “Habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, overkill, invasive species, and secondary effects are five causal factors that account for most extinctions” (Robert M. May 1995). And today, five of five can be attributed to human beings. These factors can begin as snowflakes, transform into snowballs, and become avalanches if they are left unchecked. And this is why you should care.
Yes, there are millions, perhaps billions of species. But, there won’t be if current trends continue. It is estimated that “between one third and two thirds of all species” will be lost in the next mass extinction” (David Quammen 1988, 61). This will greatly limit biodiversity amongst our world’s living species. Today there are sanctuaries that have been set aside to protect the diversity of species within an environment. But, little or no thought has been given to the conservation of diversity outside these strictly protected areas (Ramachandra Guha 1995). “Losses of native diversity cannot only create costly changes in water or nutrient cycling, fire regimes, rainfall, or soil vitality but can also threaten human health” (Yvonne Baskin 1997, 90). Man is not an island that can stand exempt from these gross changes in biodiversity. How long before we make the world our sanctuary?
Extinction has everything to do with human beings. We not only contribute to the extinction of species, but we are in turn...
Cited: 1. May, Robert M., May 1995. Extinction Rates. Oxford University Press.
2. Quammen, David. 1988. Pg. 57, 61, 68. The Flight of the Iguana: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature; Scribner,
3. Guha, Ramachandra. 1995, Ecology and Equity (with Madhav Gadgil,) Penguin
4. Baskin, Yvonne. 1997. Pg. 90. The Work Of Nature - How The Diversity Of Life Sustains Us, Island Press
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