Earth is undergoing a mass extinction, and very few people seem to be concerned about it. This fact wouldn’t be half as depressing if this extinction wasn’t caused by humans themselves. During the 200,000 years that humans have walked this earth, a whole lot of damage has been committed, much of which is now irreversible. That’s not really so much time if we compare it to the duration that life itself has been on earth, but we somehow managed to pull this off anyway.
Now, a study by the United Nations has revealed that species are going extinct faster than we could have ever imagined, and we might never be able to restore the planet to what it used to be, although the damage that’s being done can still be reduced. Here are some of the reasons which are behind this massive loss of biodiversity and everything you need to know about them:
The destruction of habitat
This one’s probably the foremost and primary source of species going extinct. Right now, around 40% of amphibian species, 33% of coral and 10% of all insect species are headed straight for their demise, and this could create a chain reaction which might see other species going down with them. A leading cause of that is human activity on the planet which reduces the area that wildlife has where it can thrive. A huge issue is the land reserved for farmland and livestock – something that takes up an unbelievable third of the entirety of land that the earth has to offer. Think about all the forests and wilderness that must have been cleared out in order to make that possible. A 100 million hectares worth of forests has been cut down to make room for human uses during the last 20 years of the previous century, and deforestation is still a massive problem.
Animals have been hunted to extinction
The famous example of the panda comes to mind when thinking about species going extinct, and while this specific species has been saved from that fate, many others have not, and a leading factor that comes to play during the extinction of many species is poachers who hunt them despite regulations and bans. If we add the fact that humans often introduce alien species where they don’t belong, things start to make even more sense. Animals that can easily climb to the top of the food chain and multiply so much that the local food chain can’t challenge them end up being a huge problem for the environment and are difficult to stop.
Climate change makes things even worse
As if direct changes that humans have made to the lives of animals weren’t enough, global warming has started to affect them adversely, and the damage that’s being done due to it might not even be fully documented yet. A good example of this is polar bears not having enough space to move around on because the ice that they live on has melted away. This says nothing for all the aquatic life that’s suffering because of warming waters, which are unable to hold as much oxygen.
Humans also cause pollution that affects species
All the air pollution that’s being caused is making the environment go haywire, and that’s just part of the damage. If you keep in mind all the plastic waste that’s gone into waters over the last 50 years, it becomes clear how much of an impact we’ve caused through pollution. Plastic is responsible for killing off many living creatures in our oceans, and if we continue to use plastic bags, this problem is going to continue. On a positive note, a large scale operation to clean the world’s ocean has been launched, but we’re going to need a lot more than that to fully tackle this problem.
If enough actions aren’t taken to counter what’s happening, catastrophic consequences might have to be faced sooner or later. It’s in our best interest, along with that of the planet, for us to reduce our carbon footprint so that the planet can stop heating up. Not only that, but we need to take into consideration all the ways that we’re damaging the habitat of all the living organisms on the planet.