Mass extinction will continue: scientists describe the main threat to humanity
Mass extinction remains the primary threat to humanity. Scientists say that flora and fauna are experiencing a mass extinction crisis on a scale unseen since the days of the dinosaurs. This is due to climate change, global warming, overpopulation, and industrial emissions. Plants and animals simply do not have enough space on Earth.
In the mid-20th century, scientists found that the maximum number of people our planet can support is 3.5 billion. Humanity reached this figure back in 1970. And now the world's population is over 8 billion. Humanity is already suffering from the disappearance of wildlife. The details were reported by CBS News.
Will there be a sixth mass extinction on Earth?
The Salish Sea in Washington State, USA, can be taken as an elementary example. The legendary "salmon" sea used to be legendary. The annual fish catch reached the amount of $200 million. In the early 1990s, one of the salmon species became endangered. And as of 2023, 14 salmon populations are already dying. They were pushed out of the rivers due to habitat destruction, warming and pollution. Fishing is now prohibited in the Salish Sea, except for short-term periods of a few hours or days.
A study by the World Wildlife Fund shows that the number of global wildlife has declined by 69% over the past 50 years.
"To sustain the current way of life on the entire planet, you would need five more Earths. It is not clear where they will come from," said 90-year-old biologist Paul Ehrlich. Most of his dire prophecies have already come true or are beginning to come true.
The alarm that Ehrlich sounded in 1968 warned that overpopulation would provoke mass starvation. He also wrote that the heat from greenhouse gases would melt the polar ice and humanity would destroy wildlife. Today, humans have occupied more than 70% of the planet's land and 70% of its fresh water.
Stanford University biologist Tony Barnosky said that the rate of extinction is very high and constantly growing, "we are in an extinction crisis".
According to Barnosky's research, the current extinction rate is 100 times faster than the average rate over nearly 4 billion years of history. These peaks point to several instances of global collapse of life. And the last one was the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago.
"There have been five mass extinctions in the history of the Earth. By mass extinction, I mean a situation where at least 75% of known species disappear from the face of the Earth. We are now witnessing a possible sixth extinction," said Tony Barnosky.
Biologist Liz Hadley, Faculty Director of the Stanford Jasper Ridge Research Reserve, said that there are no more grizzly bears in California. The only grizzly bears left in California are on the state flag. Jaguars became almost completely extinct in Mexico 30 years ago
The largest number of destructions takes place in Latin America, where, according to a study by the World Wildlife Fund, the number of wildlife has fallen by 94% since 1970.
Is it still possible to save the planet?
Mexican ecologist Gerardo Ceballos is one of the world's leading scientists in the field of extinction. According to him, the only solution is to save the third of the Earth that remains wild. He is currently conducting an experiment in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve near Guatemala. Philanthropists are paying family farmers to stop cutting down the forest. In total, the payments amount to $1.5 million a year. This is a kind of investment to protect wildlife.
But small success stories are not enough to prevent mass extinction. Scientists say that to save the planet, we need to increase our efforts 10,000-fold. Current efforts are not enough to cope with climate change.
We need to realise that climate change and species extinction pose a threat to humanity, which already consumes 175% of what the Earth can regenerate.
And half of humanity, about four billion, lives on less than $10 a day.
Past extinctions were caused by natural disasters. Today, scientists are sounding the alarm: humanity may have to survive the sixth mass extinction of its own making.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL told what the sixth mass extinction on Earth could look like.
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