The world is home to countless amounts of plants and animals. The amount of different species of living organisms is almost impossible to conceptualize. However, in the last 40 years the amount of biodiversity on the earth has dropped by 50%. This statistic is staggering. It brings up questions like, how did this happen? Can we ever get those species back? Will the future look similar leaving only humans in the end? Scientists try to answer these questions every day, and with some research here is what I came up with.
How did this happen? The world has encountered a mass extinction before. Around 250 million years ago 90% of the world’s existing species were wiped out due to large changes in climate. This included global warming/cooling, changes in sea level, volcanic eruptions, and large asteroids hitting the planet. Besides the volcanic eruptions and huge asteroids the difference between now and then is the human race. We have populated the entire world and taken it as our own. Streets cover what once was nature, and buildings stand tall above the trees. Humans have conquered the world and we continue to suck the life out of it with our oil rigs and logging plants. We have come to the point where the earth is gasping for air and all other species are left with much too little to survive. The organisms that we share the earth with are suffering from ocean acidification, habitat destruction, climate change, and the never ending hole of human consumption. The human race needs to take the necessary steps to minimize our use of the planets resources.
Can we ever get these species back? The simple answer is no. When a species becomes extinct it means that it can not adapt to a new environment and no longer can survive. Some endangered species are tigers, wolves, polar bears, and much more. Many of the animals in danger are large carnivores because of years of poaching and a lack of sustained diet. Although we can’t get the species back we can try to prevent the loss of even more organisms. This leads us to our final question.
Will the future look similar leaving only humans in the end? Nobody can ever truly predict the future. The earth is entering its sixth mass extinction. This means that humans have to realize how large their role is in the lives of other living things on this planet. Without the biodiversity that humans have lived alongside for years there would be no religion, art, and music. So much human inspiration comes from the beauty in nature. It is now time to give back. The solution to all of this loss all comes back to habitat rehabilitation. Habitat rehabilitation gives endangered species the space and resources to live in the wild successfully. We need to re-wild the planet. This starts with stopping deforestation. About 50 soccer fields of tropical rainforest are lost to deforestation every minute. Along with that comes birds, mammals, and bugs who now were either killed or have now lost their home. Habitat restoration is extremely important right now. In keeping the sprawl of human consumption to a minimum there is a greater chance that species will be able to survive. In restoring habitats animals are given the chance to rebuild the lives they once had. Plants are able to grow, and bugs have homes again. People across the world need to change their mindset of continuing to take and take. The consumer is the most dangerous weapon towards an endangered animal. With care and time habitats can slowly be restored.