6th Mass Extinction Event

The Sixth Mass Extinction event, also called the Holocene extinction, is the ongoing extinction event of species. Large number of plants, animals, birds, and amphibians are disappearing due to degradation of habitats such as coral reefs and rainforest. The present rate of extinction may be up to 140,000 species per year.

The Sixth mass extinction event is anthropogenic. that means that 99% of currently threatened species are at risk due to human activities.  How do humans endanger other species?

  • we bring in invasive species
  • we change the climate very rapidly
  • we change the chemistry of the oceans
  • we change the surface of the planet
  • we cut down forests
  • we plant mono-culture agriculture
  • we use chemicals that are damage species (i.e. neonics and bees)
  • we overfish
  • extractive industries dump environmental toxins that pollute local food source.

Are humans at risk of extinction? Yes, and it appears that Western males are most at risk.

“Researchers from the Hebrew University and Mount Sinai’s medical school found that among nearly 43,000 men from North America, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia, sperm counts per milliliter of semen had declined more than 50 percent from 1973 to 2011” and that “total sperm counts were down by almost 60 percent” (Fetters, 2018).  Researchers have not yet explained why reduced male virility is a phenomenon of Western culture but not in other cultures.

The Big Five mass extinctions occurred in the last half-billion years. Those events were caused by climate change, an intense ice age, volcanoes, and the asteroid strike that erased dinosaur species.

More readings:

Fetters, A. (2018, Oct. 12). Sperm Counts Continue to Fall. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/10/sperm-counts-continue-to-fall/572794/.