November 8, 2016 Bill Laurance and Paul Ehrlich
Life has existed on Earth for roughly 3.7 billion years. During that time we know of five mass extinction events— dramatic episodes when many, if not most, life forms vanished in a geological heartbeat. The most recent of these was the global calamity that claimed the dinosaurs and myriad other species around 66 million years ago.
Growing numbers of scientists have asserted that our planet might soon see a sixth massive extinction— one driven by the escalating impacts of humanity. Others, such as the Danish economist Bjørn Lomborg, have characterised such claims as ill-informed fearmongering.
We argue emphatically that the jury is in and the debate is over: Earth’s sixth great extinction has arrived.
Collapse of biodiversity
Mass extinctions involve a catastrophic loss of biodiversity, but what many people fail to appreciate is just what “biodiversity” means…
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