Although humans are a minuscule part of Earth's long history, they have held a crucial role in its development and how Earth looks today. People are a huge driving force behind ecological change, however, it has unfortunately not always been a positive one. We must educate those surrounding us on the detrimental outcomes caused by climate change, like extinction, and work toward reducing it.
Some scientists claim that we are in the midst of the sixth extinction; a mass extinction occurs when there’s a great loss in biodiversity, according to National Geographic. There have been five previous mass extinctions in history, the most recognizable being when the dinosaurs went extinct.
This current extinction is due to the human population’s mistreatment of the environment and the organisms in it. For this to continue is unacceptable; we must educate ourselves on how to make positive changes and alter the way we have been treating the environment.
Many think that the loss of biodiversity and extinction of an individual species seems harmless, however, the piling of these occurrences can be devastating.
Biologists talk of background extinction in which species slowly die and how it is almost unnoticeable, according to Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction. For example, humans have single handedly killed off species such as the original penguin, Pinguinus impennis, also known as the great auk.
Many 18th- and 19th-century European explorers had hunted the flightless bird to extinction simply because they could, according to Kolbert. They were often used for food and their feathers were harvested to stuff pillows and for fashion during the period. By 1844, the last pair of original penguins had been killed off. Many individuals are unaware of this, and still continue to be ignorant on the subject of animal extinction caused by humans.
Furthermore, another one of the many victims of this human-driven extinction are the coral reefs, and more specifically, the Great Barrier Reef, which is about 50 miles off the coast of Australia, human driven climate change and ocean acidification are killing this coral reef and many others, according to the Climate Interpreter.
There has been more than a 50 percent decline in signs of life in reefs. Although there has been a call for more environmental protection, sustainability and an increased use of renewable resources, fossils fuels and pollution are still an alarming concern when it comes to animal extinction.
Despite the fact that a significant number of individuals are uneducated on the subject of animal extinction, it is undeniable that humans are the driving force of rapid extinction and the changing environment. It is unacceptable that we are not creating a sustainable earth for future generations for both humans and animals.
The best method to stop the acceleration of climate change is by continuing to educate individuals on the way extinction occurs and what we can do to end it. For example, it is imperative for people to know that Earth is in the midst of a sixth extinction and seafood may be gone by 2048, according to National Geographic. Perhaps if we as a population understood the impact of our actions, we could begin to make positive alterations.
If there is no change in the way we treat the environment and animals, many species we know may be gone in our lifetime. This would certainly create a bleak future for our children and our grandchildren.
We must look toward the long-term benefits of sustainability rather than act in the short-term, thus causing us to continue our harmful habits. Individuals need to become aware of the damage they are causing and know that actions must be taken to preserve biodiversity for the benefit of ecosystems and generations to come.