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Extinction Facts: What Is Extinction and How Can We Stop It?



Whenever we hear the word “extinction,” we usually remember dinosaurs from millions of years ago. But there’s actually more to it than just dinosaurs. With the Earth becoming more and more polluted and deteriorating slowly because of our selfish ways, it shouldn’t be a surprise that even more mass extinctions would likely happen again. With over 41,000 endangered animal and plant species, as well as a total of 785 already extinct species, there’s going to be a lot to expect that would deplete over time. In this article, we’ve listed down a few extinction facts for you to know more about its causes and which living species are mostly affected.


What is Extinction?

The concept of extinction originated way back in the early 1700’s with Georges Cuvier discovering extinction in his essay on the Theory of the Earth in 1813. According to the famous Greek philosopher, all species were eternal. He believed that the existence of everyone would continue indefinitely. But these are only theories after all. It’s worth noting that an average of one to five species become extinct every year. The biggest causes for extinction are pollution, over-harvesting, and destruction of habitat, among many other influences. But natural occurrences like volcanic eruptions and asteroids should also be considered in extinction. This is because it’s basically mass destruction in a sense. The Earth has already undergone five mass extinctions in the past. Scientists believe that within the next seventy years, half of the species on Earth will become extinct.


Choice of Meat Is One Factor to Extinction

We all want to eat tasty meat every once in a while. And the thing is, if a specific type of meat is popular, then everyone would want to try it. When a certain meat is popular and tasty, more and more people will eat it. An example of this is the Guinea Hog. The Guinea Hog used to be a popular sauce for ham and bacon. But it actually became a threatened species when people opted for different choices. It then happened that a controversial yet effective way to bring attention to endangered animals was to advertise their delicious taste. These species were then raised and nourished in farms and bred for commercial use. Now, you can find that some then-endangered species that are popular as food have gained in population.


Extinction of Plants and Amphibians

The biggest difference between animals and plans is that animals can easily run away from threats, unlike plants that only stay in one place. With the recent bushfires in Australia as well as illegal logging, and deforestation, over 68% of plant species have become endangered. Amphibians on the other hand are the most endangered animal group. Contrary to being very adaptable to their environment, (since they can both live on water and land) with dry and wet areas being more and more polluted, amphibians have lesser places to thrive. This causes a lot of their species to become extinct.


What’s Next?

You may not notice it, but the Earth is now undergoing a sixth mass extinction. There are already a million species of plants and animals that are threatened because of the biodiversity crisis. We often forget that we should also consider the environment whenever we do anything. We hunt for animals to use them for non-necessities, we overfish, and we pollute the environment with our cars and non-biodegradable trash. There are now a lot of invasive species and diseases caused by human trade. The climate change that we are experiencing right now is actually caused by us, too. All this adds to serious threats and eventually, extinction.


Extinction Rebellion Movement

Extinction Rebellion is an international movement that attempts to stop succeeding mass extinctions while also trying to minimize the social collapse. Two of their campaigns are “Stop Killing Londoners and Toxic Bankers” and “Fossil Fuel Divestment.” With these movements, there is still hope that the Earth and its many living species can still survive.


Takeaway

Many of the effects of human activities and natural occurrences are irreversible. With natural occurrences, it’s inevitable, but we can still do our part to help in slowing down another massive extinction, at the very least. Although we are already undergoing a sixth mass extinction, we can always try harder not to have another one. As we get our nourishment from the Earth, we should also give back to it. There are many unnecessary things we do that actually cause small destruction to the Earth. With almost eight billion people in the world, we can make a difference in our own little ways. We need to care for the planet that cares for us. Even if we aren’t suffering now, we must also take the future generations into consideration. It’s a give and take process which shouldn’t be taxing if we all do our part.