Heat-induced algal blooms have resulted in the coasts being covered with the carcasses of thousands upon thousands of fish and the death of large numbers of seabirds and sea lions. Researchers have been looking at an alarming decline in insect life for some years now, and just last year, a whole colony of penguins did not have a successful breeding season. In recent months, the sixth great extinction has become alarmingly apparent to the general public. And that’s a terrible thing.
The effects of climate change are already producing a tremendous state of instability throughout these systems, which is disrupting the timing of essential ecosystem functions like pollination, lowering the number of species that are there, and making it easier for new species to enter. Pesticides, plastics, the destruction of habitats, and illegal hunting are just some of the ways that people are interfering with the natural world around us.
Tens of thousands of fish washed ashore along the gulf coast of Texas starting on Friday after being starved of oxygen in warm water. "It doesn't take long for them to sit there in 90-degree heat to really rack up an unpleasant smell," an official said. https://t.co/FuTT7mx4mf pic.twitter.com/hkJyoxQz6e
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 11, 2023
It is an irreversible threat to the persistence of civilization and the livability of future environments for Homo sapiens; […] It is changing the trajectory of evolution globally and destroying the conditions that make human life possible, reads a statement released by ecologists.
In order to achieve this, Gerardo Ceballos, an ecologist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and Paul Ehrlich, a conservation biologist from Stanford University, analyzed the extinctions of species that have occurred since 1500 CE and compared those findings to those from the previous 500 million years. They discovered that throughout the past five hundred years, humans had been responsible for the extinction of 73 different genera of backboned animals. And this rate is actually 35 times greater than any other instance of dying at the genus level.
And due to the biosphere we live in is highly interrelated, the extinction of species groups that perform specific roles within their interconnected web of living things can have significant knock-on effects that cascade throughout the biosphere. In Central America, for instance, there has been a concurrent decline in the number of mosquito-eating frog species and an increase in the number of people infected with malaria. On average, the rarest and most fascinating animals on the earth are also the ones that are least protected.
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