The Sixth Extinction

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PHOTOGRAPH BY KARL GEHRING, THE DENVER POST/GETTY

The Sixth Extinction is a very real threat in today’s world. In Elizabeth Kolbert’s book The Sixth Extinction, she shows how the ultimate causation of the sixth extinction will be humans. There have been 5 other mass extinctions, the most well known being the last, which wiped out the dinosaurs. While the Big 5 were caused by cataclysmic events not within our control, animals and plants that are extinct or endangered now are because of mankind and what we are doing to the planet. Destruction of land, hunting and poaching, climate change, and diseases are slowly destroying plants and animals around the world.

One such species, the Panamanian golden frogs, were historically threatened by deforestation, loss of habitats, water pollution and over collection. but a fungus has now threatened them with extinction. This fungus, spread through water, which affects the skin of amphibians, is killing them off. The possible loss of this frog in the wild will have a huge impact on the environment. They can help predict the health of an ecosystem and some frogs have produced chemicals that cure certain human diseases. This frog is a national symbol of good luck. Breeding of frogs by scientists is being done at the conservation center while Biologists are working to fight the disease and help the frogs develop an immunity. But the frogs can’t be returned to the wild.

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image by Maddie Duhon

Humans might not have been the fittest individuals coming to different continents and areas but we were certainly adaptable. Humans are the most invasive species and we don’t even realize how we are adding to this extinction. People bringing different plants and animals to different areas end up killing some of the local inhabitants and plants because the native plants and animals have no response to fight or adapt to these new groups.

In today’s society many younger individuals grow up with the knowledge that some animals are endangered or already extinct. They don’t realize that it was because of humankind that this happened and is still happening today. Many don’t realize how much change has happened and how much more is happening now. We all need to work together to combat the ever growing issues that threaten the planet. Conservation, Clean air acts, Atmospheric changes and weather, Scientific research and rescue efforts of endangered species all need to become a larger focus for humankind. Governmental changes and policies are once again under fire and need to be stepped up.We need to realize that we are not the only living species and that our willingness to conquer and repopulate has created a global problem. If humans and governments don’t begin to realize just how quickly these problems are spreading and start to really work together with scientists and environmental groups the sixth extinction could be here sooner than we realize.

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5 thoughts on “The Sixth Extinction

  1. Such an important topic! I appreciate this contribution immensely. I wonder what you mean by ‘Humans might not have been the fittest individuals…’ Reproducing and dispersing at alarming rates actually is extraordinarily high ‘fitness’ by definition. I’d love to see you talk about how people having this understanding of our evolutionary propensity to conquer, destroy, reproduce at the detriment of other species (and of certain groups of people over others), could help our planet in our future? What might we do with this knowledge?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree that humans show great “fitness” when it comes to this. I think my wording was jumbled but that was what I meant. It is a fascinating thing to read about and hopefully government and scientific research will continue to grow and expand on corrective measures to preserve what we have on the planet instead of continually destroying it. I’ve tweaked it a little and hopefully can keep researching on my own.

      Liked by 1 person

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