Planet Earth is being misused and mismanaged leading to the sixth mass extinction

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Amazon forest destroyed

The media, today, is expressing an exasperation at the inability of humans to change the course that they are on which is a long-term acute mismanagement and misuse of the planet leading to what is described as the sixth mass extinction and which is happening faster than expected. It is happening now and it is entirely the fault of the human animal.

Planet being destroyed by humans
Planet on fire. Image in public domain.

You would have to be living on another planet to not see how humans are systematically and consistently destroying the planet. There are, of course, hundreds of examples and ways that humans can achieve this. The greatest damage is perpetrated by China and America. China has 12,000 fishing vessels and they eat one third of the planet’s fish. They fish illegally and bully others. They have no animal welfare laws and their relationship with wild animals caused the coronavirus pandemic. They steal and eat people’s pet dogs and cats (cat meat market). Japan play games over whale hunting. Brazil destroys forests. Indonesia does likewise. America pollutes the air with the highest carbon footprint by far. Politicians are short sighted and greedy. For them it is about now and sod the future.

The classic and perhaps most dramatic way to kill the planet that sustains us is to destroy virgin, ancient forests and replace them with plantations of one sort and another e.g. palm oil. We can do without bloody palm oil.

Forests are the home of many, many animals and through photosynthesis they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. A forest area the size of Wales is destroyed in Brazil annually. It is quite staggering. It is a catastrophe and if we go on as we are the planet will lose huge ecosystems and the basic necessities to provide fresh water, a decent environment which is not overheated, pest and disease control, pollination and an endless number of other benefits that we receive from nature.

Amazon forest destroyed.
Amazon forest destroyed. Photo: Carl De Souza/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images.

We are told, today, that the extinction rate among terrestrial vertebrate species is much higher than previous estimates. The experts say that we have up to 15 years maximum to remedy the situation and if we don’t we would have charted a course towards a much harsher life for humans. We will have irretrievably damaged the planet’s ability to maintain human life and life in general. These are the thoughts of Professor Gerardo Ceballos, an ecologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a lead author of a new study.

He states that the rate of extinction of many species is occurring much faster than would occur normally and naturally. Scientists know that 543 species had been lost over the last hundred years which would normally take around 10,000 years. In every year over the last century we have lost the same number of species that we typically lose in 100 years. Between 2001 and 2014 approximately 173 species became extinct. This is 25 times more than you would expect under normal conditions.

In the history of the Earth, there have been five previous mass extinction events. Each one wiped out between 70% and 95% of the species of plants and animals and microorganisms. The fifth and most recent mass extinction took place 66 million years ago which saw the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The past mass extinctions were caused by natural events such as massive volcanic eruptions or a collision with an asteroid. The sixth is entirely different because it is caused by humans alone and it is taking place now.

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