Mass extinction: a threat we cannot ignore

The world is becoming less diverse every year because of human actions. Habitat change, the use of pesticides and herbicides, and climate change are causing global diversity to decline at an unprecedented rate. Recently, a group of researchers from the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic stated that mass extinctions are not only real, but will take a greater toll on the Earth than previously thought.

To understand the magnitude of the problem, the scientists analyzed data on populations of more than 70,000 species around the world. It turned out that the number of 48% of species is now falling, while only 3% are growing. And about 33% of the species that are not considered endangered today are in fact dangerously close to the threshold for being designated as “endangered.

The smallest class of terrestrial vertebrates – amphibians – is experiencing the greatest crisis today, while the decline in the number of fish and reptiles has been the least serious. Scientists note that tropical species are now the most affected, probably because species in such areas tend to be more sensitive to environmental changes.

Today our world has not yet crossed the “climatic point of no return,” after which environmental change will become irreversible. But the Earth’s biosphere has already been seriously affected by destructive human activity, and the losses may end up being quite severe. After all, living organisms may have too little time to adapt to them.

There are many studies that confirm the threat of mass extinction. For example, in 2019, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reported that one million species are at risk of extinction. This is caused not only by climate change, but also by other human actions, such as pollution, land conversion, and intensive use of natural resources.

Experts warn that mass extinctions can lead to catastrophic consequences. For example, it can lead to loss of minerals, reduced soil fertility, reduced resilience of ecosystems to climate change, and increased likelihood of epidemics. In addition, species extinctions can disrupt ecosystem services that living organisms provide, such as pollination of plants, water and soil purification, and control of insect pests.

Mass extinction is a problem for all of humanity, and each of us must understand our responsibility to preserve our planet’s biodiversity. Measures must be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pollution, protect natural resources and preserve ecosystem services. Only in this way can we prevent mass extinction and preserve the wealth of our planet for future generations.

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