Endangered Siberian Tiger image via Blogspot
Earth is going to lose 75% of its animal species over the next two centuries and it's all our fault.
The sixth mass extinction of our planet is among us. The last mass extinction took out the dinosaurs. It's still up for debate what actually happened to the dinosaurs: a meteor, a flood, a combination of both? Either way, something huge took them all out. And we, a race of selfish water sacks, are going to do the same thing if we don't do something fast.
Animals naturally go extinct, about two mammals per ten thousand years. The rate is now 114 times that normal number due to human pollution, climate change, and the destruction of natural habitats.
This is just to talk about animals, which most news outlets are reporting. Species, including plant species (which we or the animals we consume eat in order to survive), as a whole are disappearing at a rate between 1000 and 10,000 times the normal extinction rate.
Have a chart, thanks to Mrs. Cruz's Biology class.
This is not difficult. If we do not have the plants or the chicken, it's just us and the cockroaches until we die and they eat us.
Right now, 1 in 6 animal species are endangered. This includes 41% of amphibians (like the Blue Spotted Salamander and Striped Newt), 13% of birds (like the California Condor and the Whooping Crane), and 26% of mammals (like the Siberian Tiger and the Mountain Gorilla).
You know white rhinos? They're not an unknown species. They a commonly known animal. There are five left. Five.
Image via Yahoo
This is a sand cat. There are 116 of them in the world, according to The International Species Information Service. They're adorable, right? That's why they're endangered. Poachers think they're adorable, too.
Image from Mother Nature Network
If adorable and well-known animals don't make you want to take action, have some facts about how your life will be specifically affected if these species go extinct:
1) Bees - Bees pollinate the plants we and the animals we consume eat. If this doesn't make sense to you, please refer back to Mrs. Cruz's chart.
2) Ivory Tree Coral - If this coral no longer exists, neither do the multiple species of fish that survive on it. Then, in turn, the fish and the birds who eat those fish die. Are you noticing a pattern?
3) Otters - Leaving out the adorable factor, otters benefit humans by eating sea urchins that would destroy kelp forests if their population got out of control. Kelp forests are home to hundreds of species. Otters also help fight climate change by restoring aquatic carbon-fighting plants.
4) Tiger Sharks - These thoughtful creatures usually only feed on the weakest of the fish they're going after, making that species' gene pool a lot prettier and healthier. Then we get the big guy's leftovers. How kind is that?
5) Sugar Maple Tree - No more maple candy, eh? Besides providing breakfast's best flavor, this tree is basically the mommy of the forest because it takes care of all of its surrounding friends. It transfers water through its roots to dry areas, helping other plants. It provides a huge amount of shade which helps other flora, as well as animals and insects.
So... what do we do?
Professor Ehrlich from the Stanford Woods Insitute for the Environment quotes, “Avoiding a true sixth mass extinction will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species, and to alleviate pressures on their populations - notably habitat loss, over-exploitation for economic gain and climate change.”
There is hope if we act quickly. Please, do yourself a favor and save the planet.