Rob Jordan, Stanford Report, 19 Jun. 2015

t five points in the Earth’s history there has been a widespread and rapid decrease in the amount of life, otherwise known as a mass extinction. According to a new study done by the scientific journal Science Advances, we are in the midst of a sixth extinction being fueled by the most powerful species since the dinosaurs: humans. “The study shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event,” said Paul Ehrlich, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and co-author of the study. Previously there has been general agreement among scientists that species are dying out at great rates, but some theorized that the “extinction” crisis has been over-exaggerated. In the Science Advances study, it is shown that species are dying at 100 times faster than the normal rate between mass extinctions and that a “global spasm of biodiversity loss” can now be concluded. With a human population that is exponentially growing and maintains a primarily capitalist economy, humans are accelerating the sixth great die off. Constantly clearing land for farming or settlements, introducing invasive species, and emitting an excess of carbon, poisons ecosystems and slowly terminates species.

As it stands, the possibility of extinction hangs over 41% of all amphibian life and 26% of all mammals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which maintains the authoritative list for threatened and extinct species. While there is no magic cure-all for the problems humans have caused, big or small, there is time for us to re-think the way we perceive our planet and the other species who roam it alongside us.

Get in deeper:

Stanford researcher warns sixth mass extinction is here by Stanford University

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The identifiable alterations to the Earth are easy to identify — coal ash, lead and other metals, plastics everywhere.Robert Sullivan, New York Magazine, 18 Jun. 2015
While emphasizing cataclysmic finality is a good strategy for getting attention, it’s not so great at precipitating change.Cara Giaimo, Atlas Obscura, 24 Jun. 2015
Even if we can survive, is that the world you want to live in? Is that the world you want all future generations of humans to live in?Nadia Drake, National Geographic, 23 Jun. 2015
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