18 September 2014 (The Mind Unleashed) – Those who keep taking our biodiversity for granted: dumping corporate waste, spraying copious amounts of herbicides and pesticides, contaminating our water with […] industrial chemicals while generally ignoring the environment at large, have another thing coming. According to a Stanford biology professor, Rodolfo Dirzo, the earth has begun its 6th mass extinction cycle – and it’s our fault.
More than 3.5 billion years of biodiversity hang in the balance. According to lead author Dirzo, we have reached a tipping point. In a recently published review of scientific literature and an analysis of data published in Science, an international team of scientists cautions that the loss and decline of animals is contributing to what appears to be the beginning of the planet’s sixth mass biological extinction event.
While 320 terrestrial animals have died off since 1500, populations of the remaining animal species show a recurring decline of 25 percent. There is a similar dire prophecy for invertebrate life.
What’s alarming is that previous extinctions were caused by planetary transformation or asteroid strikes, and the current die-off is entirely due to human error.
Professor Dirzo is calling our time an era of “Anthropocene defaunation.” Human ignorance and greed are its causes. According to the study:
Across vertebrates, 16 to 33 percent of all species are estimated to be globally threatened or endangered. Large animals – described as megafauna and including elephants, rhinoceroses, polar bears and countless other species worldwide – face the highest rate of decline, a trend that matches previous extinction events.
Larger animals tend to have lower population growth rates and produce fewer offspring. They need larger habitat areas to maintain viable populations. Their size and meat mass make them easier and more attractive hunting targets for humans. [more]