Global Crisis: Rapid Extinction
Extinction, the disappearance of a certain group of species in the environment, has reached an alarming state. It is an accurate fact that the number of extinct species is visibly higher than the total population of living species. According to the recent report of the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 16,306 identified species are currently issued to be endangered and close to extinction. And as the extinction rate continues to climb a thousand times faster than normal, the sixth massive extinction has far begun.
What Once Have Lived
Looking back at history, you'll mostly associate 'extinction' with dinosaurs and that exactly is true. Dinosaurs are among the millions of species that had gone extinct over the course of time (particularly on what we call extinction events). Conversely, dinosaurs are simply old-school. There are far more species that have gone extinct over the recent years and some of which are the following:
- Barbary Lion
- Caribbean Monk Seal
- Chinese Paddlefish
- Blue Pike
- Guam Flycatcher
- Great Short-tailed Bat
Some of the mentioned species might sound unfamiliar to you. Well, that will remain as it is for now as there's nothing we can do about it. However, there are countless of species that are on the brink of extinction, and some of them can be counted by your fingers. Thus, always keep in mind that finding the right solution and implementing it should be our primary goal.
The Dying Importance
Before we indulge ourselves in solving the current issue, it is rather important to simply know the significance of animals and plants in our daily lives. Both plants and animals provide not only a source of lumber, food, medicine, and other necessities such as shelter and fuel, but a source of entertainment as well. Several parks and zoos have been built for amusement to nature. Much more, recent technology is a clear imitation of what we see around us. Biotechnology also utilizes different plant and animal genes in the production of different necessities and lavished merchandises. To sum it all up, society has been deeply dependent on plants and animals on its survival.
Root of Annihilation
It is undeniable that Earth is currently facing its 6th massive extinction due mainly to vigorous human activities: so to speak, humans kill other species faster than any other living organism. Most of these activities eventually lead to the most common identified causes of extinction: pollution, habitat loss, genetic pollution, climate change, ocean acidification, introduction of invasive species, and diseases..
Pollution in either land, water, and air could eventually degrade the habitat and destroy the population of the species.
Human activities especially, urbanization and deforestation, contribute to the loss of the habitat, which is very crucial as it provides shelter and food, of certain species.
Breeding of native (pure breed) species and non-native species leads to the loss of the unique gene of the native species.
The sudden change in climate visibly damages the habitat of several species (e.g. melting of ice caps in Antarctica and Polar Bears).
The increase of the acidity of the ocean visibly kills the species living within it.
Introduction of Invasive Species
The introduction of invasive species decreases the number of endemic species as it may serve as a natural predator and contribute to the over competition in the ecosystem.
Diseases and viruses could affect the distribution of species living in a specific area.
Though the causes that were presented were different, they are actually interrelated: pollution could lead to habitat loss, climate change could result to ocean acidification, and the introduction of invasive species is a major factor in the spread of diseases.
Do you somehow see the pattern?
Extinction is equivalent to the known "domino effect". Such that, the death of a single species could eventually lead to the extinction of several other species. For instance, species A is the only prey of species B in an area. As species A becomes extinct, then it also to be expected some time in the future that species B would become extinct. This phenomenon is known as coextinction. Naturally, coextinction involves all species living in the planet, and we are no exception.
Thus, it is only logical that we solve the problem we've created in the first place.
Solution Was Never Lost
Fortunately, several governments around the globe have issued a support on solving this matter. Habitats are naturally restored with other areas reclaimed strictly for biodiversity reasons. Specialists, biologists specifically, have developed several models to solve different problems regarding unexpected diseases as well as issues on animal and plant habitat. Numerous laws have already been implemented as to ban or lessen the use of certain plants and animals in producing goods or resources. These approaches may seem small, however its effects, if properly maintained and improved, would surely be big.
Extinction is a constant natural phenomenon that has shaped today’s biodiversity. But in the current situation humanity has been facing, it has already been a serious threat globally. Society certainly could not sustain without any wildlife aid. Only with proper discipline and management, men and women could overcome the issue. Foremost, society should confront the climate change, as this problem had resulted to the degradation of different species population. All of us should also properly control ourselves and learn to put economic value in nature in order to symbiotically coexist with it. If the current matters are solved, then we could avert the coming catastrophe.