very 100 million years or so a mass extinction has occurred on our planet and it is believed that all of them have been due to natural catastrophes such as a huge asteroid hitting the earth or gigantic volcano eruptions. Mass extinctions do not refer to the end of the world, but definitely, a huge setback that can lead to the end of the world in an upscaling apocalyptic scenario.
The five prior mass extinctions have had around 80% of all organisms vanish, putting the future of life itself in danger. Although there isn’t a respected pattern in history, some mass extinctions have taken place about 100 million years whilst others are as close as 50 million years. The next mass extinction may be approaching sooner than scientists may anticipate and this is because we are at the root of its cause.
Previous Mass Extinctions
- Ordovician-Silurian was the first mass extinction that occurred on Earth as far as scientists and historians can acknowledge. It is believed that it occurred between 447 to 443 million years ago. The mass extinction was caused by the shift of a supercontinent or protocontinent known as Gondwana towards the South Pole. This led to global cooling which killed 85% of all life due to extremely cold temperatures and a major drop in sea levels.
- Late Devonian was the second mass extinction that occurred between 375 to 360 million years ago. About 70% of all organisms have perished due to a series of extinction pulses. Marine life was almost near extinction due to oceanic volcanism that has risen all over, although there may have been other causes at hand. This was a period of time when the ratio of land and water was more balanced than today.
- Permian Triassic is considered to be the closest event to the extinction of life on Earth as, during that mass extinction that occurred 252 million years ago, 96% of all organisms died. The exact cause is not known, but it is believed that a series of volcanos combined with meteorites and releases of natural gases factored towards this mass extinction. Experts say that it took about 10 million years for all organisms to recover at an optimal level.
- Triassic Jurassic had only occurred 50 million years later (about 200 million years ago) where the mass extinction took around 73% of all life on Earth. The exact causes are unknown but as previously mentioned it may have been a combination of natural catastrophes which played in a sequence that had caused this.
- Cretaceous Paleogene is the last but not least and the most well-known mas extinction. This is the mass extinction that had killed most dinosaurs about 66 million years ago due to a massive asteroid hitting Earth. Around 75% of all life had perished, but most of it was due to the climate changes caused by the asteroid and not from its direct impact.
The causes of the Sixth Mass Extinction
There is one type of germ that is more harmful than any other on this planet and it is named humans. Our way of life has been affecting the natural ecosystem of this planet for centuries now and the reputations are well on their way. We have been created for this planet, but this planet has not been created for us.
Greed without humanity has always led our species towards quick evolution that mainly came with the destruction of nature. We never took the time to find more natural ways of creating energy, heat, or food. This is because just like any germ we only care about ourselves and no other organism around us.
In most cases of mass extinctions, the natural catastrophes that have occurred were due to the perturbations of the Earth’s natural carbon cycle. Many people think that producing CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) is all bad but it isn’t. The production of CO2 didn’t come into existence with humanity, it was on Earth all along and a good percentage of it is needed to keep our ecosystem in balance.
The difference now is that a lot more CO2 is being produced by humans than by nature itself causing a huge unbalance in the ecosystem which is causing global warming. There is a huge list of daily activities that are occurring in our modern-day society which produce a significant amount of CO2.
The world is slowly becoming more aware of climate change and global warming. I have seen many projects that are publicized with the help of the internet and a lot of influential people playing their role, but I have to be that person which comes with the bad news.
Sadly, it is already too late… Even if you got a quarter of the world’s population to change their lifestyles in order to save this world it would not be enough. Despite all the greener choices that our world is making it cannot keep up with new technologies and most importantly the rapid growth of the world’s population.
It is not just about the raised production of CO2 but our carelessness about life around Earth that has inhabited this place for millions of years. We are making animal species extinct quicker than we are discovering newer ones. Academic research has shown that signs of the sixth mass extinction are already here.
These signs are based on the previous levels of extinction rates from previous mass extinctions. It is estimated that we will be well into the sixth mass extinction when we see a rate of 2 mammal extinctions per 10,000 species per 100 years which we aren’t that far off.
Most humans don’t care about future generations and in a way, I don’t blame them because no one cares about them now, so why should they care about someone else? The biggest social challenge that we are facing right now and it could be the biggest since the existence of humanity is loneliness. It is so strange for loneliness to exist in this age where we are more connected than ever through technology, but this just proves my point, we are selfish!
I can’t give you a specific date, but some scientists are already saying that the sixth mass extinction had already begun as this isn’t an instant process, but a process that takes thousands of years just like prior mass extinctions. Permian Triassic took at least 15 million years to occur, but I promise you that this one will be much quicker just like technological evolution.
There are plenty of facts that can prove that the sixth mass extinction has started a long time ago. Between 1900 and 2015, 177 mammal species have been made extinct and the rate just keeps increasing. These aren’t just speculations, but historical facts showing that humanity will bite the dust and we deserve it.
It is God’s job to judge us as individuals, but death will only judge us as a species and he is hard to impress. It is not just the climate change or killing off other species through or actions but also the social changes that show our integration into the sixth mass extinction as previously mentioned.
The only way I see us taking a step forward towards combating this issue is firstly treating everyone as humans and not as lesser based on social constructs. We need to connect and unite more than ever if we are to stand even a 1% chance of combating this. Only the humans who deserve to survive will resist this mass extinction.