How humans cause mass extinctions

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The full article by Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich was originally written for The Jordan Times

The Earth is undergoing the sixth mass extinction in its history and we, humans are the cause of it. The rapidly expanding human activity, driven by worsening overpopulation and increasing per capita consumption, is destroying habitats to make way for farms, pastures, roads and cities. Our pollution is disrupting the climate and poisoning the land, water and air. We are transporting invasive organisms around the globe and overharvesting commercially or nutritionally valuable plants and animals. By doing so, we are causing rapid disappearance of species.

But it is not just that species are going extinct, is that because of that our existence is threaten: mass species extinctions will deprive us from all the indispensable ecosystem services these species provide us, and on which our civilisation depends: regulating the climate, maintaining soil fertility, pollinating crops and defending them from pests, filtering freshwater, and supplying food.

What is going on is simple to explain: The more people there are, the more of Earth’s productive resources must be mobilised to support them. There is greater demand for fossil fuels which means more green house gases. There is more need for the use of pesticides and other chemicals including EDCs which poison us and our planet. As new people arrive, food is going to be produced on less fertile, more fragile land. Water will be more and more transported further or purified. Energy will be produced from more marginal sources and with each person more stress will be added to the planet and its systems, causing more environmental damage and driving more species to extinction.

In short, the world’s expanding human population is in competition with the populations of most other animals. And since the most dominant animal — us — is taking half the cake, it is little wonder that the millions of species have begun to disappear rapidly. And as simply as that our population bomb has already claimed its first casualties and these causalities will not be the last.

Read the full article via The Jordan Times
How humans cause mass extinctions