The article on Mass Extinction by Dr Shaju Thomas was insightful. It’s true that throughout history, extinctions have happened for comparatively mundane reasons. Even without asteroid impacts or human disruption, species are always dying out – the “unfit” in Darwin’s terminology, and being replaced. Scientists estimate that 99 percent of the species that ever existed no longer do. It’s a routine part of life on Earth.
What’s happening now, the researchers say, is not routine. But species these days are not living under normal conditions, the biologists say. Forests are vanishing. Animals are hunted for their tusks and teeth and fur. Toxins are leaching into streams and lakes and the ground beneath us. The global climate is changing, and habitats around the world are changing with it.
If die-offs continue at current rates, the current extinction event could reach “Big Five” magnitudes in 240 to 540 years- an unprecedented speed for this kind of ecological change. The deaths we see now are all due to pollution, predation and habitat change from one species: humans.
Still, scientists say, it’s possible to avert their gloomy predictions. They give us about a generation to make the changes needed to slow the rate of species loss. It is high time that we humans be awake about this crisis.
Philip Thomas, Coimbatore, TN