The history of life on Earth has been marked five times by events of mass biodiversity extinction caused by extreme natural phenomena. Today, many experts warn that a Sixth Mass Extinction crisis is underway, this time entirely caused by human activities…
“Drastically increased rates of species extinctions and declining abundances of many animal and plant populations are well documented, yet some deny that these phenomena amount to mass extinction,” said Robert Cowie, lead author of the study and research professor at the UH Mānoa Pacific Biosciences Research Center in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). “This denial is based on a biased view of the crisis which focuses on mammals and birds and ignores invertebrates, which of course constitute the great majority of biodiversity.”
Unfortunately, along with science denial taking a foothold in modern society on a range of issues, the new study points out that some people also deny that the Sixth Extinction has begun. Additionally, others accept it as a new and natural evolutionary trajectory, as humans are just another species playing their natural role in Earth’s history. Some even consider that biodiversity should be manipulated solely for the benefit of humanity – but benefit defined by whom?
“Humans are the only species capable of manipulating the biosphere on a large scale,” Cowie emphasized. “We are not just another species evolving in the face of external influences. In contrast, we are the only species that has conscious choice regarding our future and that of Earth’s biodiversity.”
If in fact a debate on this state of affairs takes place in timely fashion, who gets to choose participants? No doubt, scientists in many lands will be chosen to represent their nation’s responsibility by professional organizations…in cooperation with national government. Here in the GOUSA, I’m not as certain.