Extinction is one of the most serious, dangerous, but also mysterious phenomenon that has ever happened on Earth. The world’s first known mass extinction occurred about 540 million years ago. It was called the Ordovician-Silurian extinction. According to scientists, a large part of the Earth, which was covered in ice, home to countless sea creatures, became extinct. But, there are some theories, contradicting what the scientists have declared. They suggest the causes of this mass extinction was influenced by the plants growing on Earth. According to these theories, carbon dioxide was unleashed in the air, causing a sudden and rapid drop in temperature.
Also, they indicate that the fall in sea level as a result of the range forming at Appalachian mountain.
Yet, until now, many questions still remain unanswered.
Especially questions about how or why this massive event happened, and what were the causes triggering the mass extinction.
However, this kind of happenings tends to leave a trademark on the planet Earth and make an evolutionary change where the evolution of new species begins.
Today, we are witnesses of the ‘ugly truth’. Our planet is in the heart of the mass extinction of plants and animal species. It is indeed frightening, and scientists estimate that we are currently losing species at a rate of 1,000 to 100,000 times.
Since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, scientists alert that this extinction is going to be one of the worst. The current mass extinction can cause “waves” of death for all species, including humans.
What Is Mass Extinction?
Mass extinction is the event that erases almost the whole biodiversity of Earth by vanishing its living species.
Unfortunately, in the past, these massive losses of species occurred under the impact of natural conditions, such as sudden climate shifts, cosmic radiation, volcanic eruptions, or epidemic diseases.
But the current mass extinction is due to human activities in which 99% of species are in excellent life danger. And this is commonly called the ‘6th mass extinction.’
In the current mass extinction, human activities are destroying our planet.
What Are The Main Causes Of The Current Mass Extinction (aka 6th Mass Extinction)
So, the real question is, who are these future human ‘threats’ for the species all around the world, and what is causing the current mass extinction we are in?
1. Increased human population
We are currently “suffering” from the overpopulation “syndrome.” When the population of a species grows beyond the capacity of the planet, the demand for land increases. This leads to the destruction of natural habitats.
It creates an imbalance in the supply-demand ratio.
“The density of people is a key factor in species threats. If human species follow the same pattern as the mammals and birds in our study, then we are facing a serious threat associated with our growing population.”, says Jeffrey McKee, an associate professor of both anthropology and evolution at Ohio State University.
Globally, the decrease in the living area size of a particular species is initiating a habitat loss killing the ecosystem. Some scientists inform that if the present trends continue, 50 percent of the world’s wildlife species will be at a greater risk of extinction.
They are part of the currently endangered species of Earth.
By the end of the 21st century, the human population worldwide will increase by 8.5 billion people.
This clearly indicates that the extinction rates will accelerate, and the number of threatened or endangered species will increase by 7 percent over the next 20 years and 14 percent by 2050.
2. Climate Change/Global Warming
Overpopulation, as a serious problem, is directly connected with climate change and global warming.
Given the fact that, when the number of resources decreases, the use of machinery increases. This, in turn, results in intensive farming for producing food and cause damage to local ecosystems and the land.
The producer-consumer imbalance is also one of the major contributors to climate change.
Even though there are many debates about global warming. Climate scientists finally agree that human activities are ‘provoking’ the shocking change in global temperatures.
They believe that the primary reason for global warming is the increase in carbon dioxide emissions by burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and other human actions.
97 percent of the scientific community warns about the rising temperature of the Earth between 0.4 and 0.8 °C over the past 100 years. Global warming researchers recently said that this temperature could increase between 1.4 and 5.8 °C by the year 2100. Scientists predict that it would then trigger the next mass extinction.
Moreover, the consequences of climate change can be catastrophic. They can increase the severity of storms, forest fires, floods, and other unexpected weather events.
How To Beat Climate Change?
We still have the time to prevent the causes of mass extinction that are pushing Earth into the next mass extinction. And this mass extinction, that might as well eradicate all the animal and human species.
We can beat climate change by switching to more renewable energy projects that consume renewable sources to generate power or energy.
Some of the common types of renewable energy are wind and solar power. Several countries have already started taking climate change seriously. They are using more renewable sources like wind, sunlight, or sometimes even water (water might not be a completely renewable source, as someday Earth may run of out water as well).
Here are some of the interesting renewable green energy projects that can save Earth from climate change!
As an individual, you can also help fight climate change substantially.
Remember the 3R’s – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
These are some of the common ways how you can reduce the consumption to save our planet from adverse climate changes.
You can reduce your consumption of electricity by turning off lights and computers when you are not using them.
Reduce the consumption of clothes by slightly opting for minimalism.
Saying NO to plastic is one of the first things you can do to help sustain reusability.
Plastic is a slow poison for our planet. It is also one of the dangerous things as it does not decompose. Plastic left under the ocean can harm aquatic animals and eventually can even make them extinct.
If we all together switch to reusable bags instead of plastic bags, then a lot of species can be saved from becoming extinct.
Recycling used materials to produce day-to-day essentials for humans and animals can lighten the burden of climate change on our Earth and help it breathe better.
3. Invasive Species
An invasive species are species that are not native to a particular area. They arrive there, usually with the “helping hand” of a human, and there they have a habit of disseminating a population on its own.
Although, the majority of this type of species spread danger into the new environment they occupy, like making their own life adjustments, then competing with the native species, and attacking them, or threatening their existence. However, not all species that arrive in a new habitat become invasive.
For example, a lot of garden plants that are imported from other places don’t jeopardize the survival of the native species because they don’t populate a lot. Besides, islands are places that are extremely vulnerable to invasive species.
They usually have a lot of endemic species and predators. This makes island species to be more at risk, especially when non-native species are introduced.
Yet, some places have meager rates of species invasion, usually because their climate is especially harsh, like in the Arctic. It is also the reason why more species live near the Equator.
Nonetheless, these invasive species soon could have a disastrous end for native species, unless we create effective mechanisms to prevent their arrival in the first place.
How to prevent invasive species from overriding native species?
Suggestions like building a monitoring system for detecting new species can be one of the effective mechanisms. This system can later help in wiping out their invasive existence as soon as possible.
Continue reading: How to survive a mass extinction and win evolution?
Concluding Thoughts On Mass Extinction & Its Causes,
I believe that these apocalyptic scenarios that are already happening in the present can have a tragic end for all living species, including us, humans.
For that reason, we have to join our forces and act effectively to fight this virus and his deadly consequences on the planet.
I don’t think we act enough. We are aware of this nightmare. We talk about it, we debate about it, but the action is missing.
Hopefully, every one of us will finally “wake up” and starts to behave like a “hero” in his way to save our sorrowing planet.
What are your thoughts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. If you liked this article, then click the share button and spread the word!
- Himanshu Goenka, (2017), “What caused Earth’s first mass extinction?“
- Jeremy Hance (2015), “How humans are driving the sixth mass extinction.”
- Ian Johnston, (2017), “Earth’s worst-ever mass extinction of life holds ‘apocalyptic’ warning about climate change.
- Angelo Krizmanic, (2016), “Human Overpopulation Problems and Issues“
- Jacob Hill, (2017), “Invasive Species: How they affect the environment.”
- Melissa Denchak (2016), “Are the effects of global warming that bad?“
- Christine Dell’Amore (2014), “Species Extinction happening 1,000 times faster, because of humans?“