The history of life on Earth has been marked five times by events of mass biodiversity extinction caused by extreme natural phenomena. Today, many experts warn that a Sixth Mass Extinction crisis is underway, this time entirely caused by human activities. A comprehensive assessment of evidence of this ongoing extinction event was published recently in the journal Biological Reviews by biologists from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France. "Drastically increased rates of species extinctions and declining abundances of many animal and plant populations are well documented, yet some deny that these phenomena amount to mass extinction," said Robert Cowie, lead author of the study and research professor at the UH Mānoa Pacific Biosciences Research Center in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST).
I read Daniel Sherrell’s Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World sitting on the edge of what was left of the Shenandoah River after a summer of very little rain. Six inches is enough to canoe in but it’s less than that in many places. Fish are few and far between, yet humans are out there in canoes, dragging them over rocks, casting their lines, luring the last fish to their doom. I know the fish murders are not the problem, not at this scale. The problem is the power lines hanging low across the water, the 12-foot American Flag hung up on the shore, the massive actions of corrupt governments and industries — but also the cabin my family’s in and the car that drove us to it — not to mention the airplanes audible from great distances and tricking the mind into hoping for thunder.