The planet is on the brink of a sixth mass extinction and this time it is not volcanic eruptions or asteroid but mankind who will be responsible for his own race. Species are dying and becoming extinct at an alarming and catastrophic rate.
Researchers have warned that the sixth mass extinction is unavoidable unless stringent and consistent efforts are made to save already threatened species. Major efforts to regulate carbon emissions and saving natural habitats are required.
Researchers have put forth a simple mechanism to explain the gravity of the situation. A conservative estimate of a background rate of 2 mammal extinction per 10,000 species per 100 year, the average rate of the extinction of the vertebrate species has been 114 times more than the background rate. Humans are largely to blame for this situation and careless attitudes have led to loss of natural habitats, pollution and climate changes. Since the year 1500 the planet has seen a loss of 77 species of mammals, 140 bird species, and 34 amphibians.
The human population has been rising geometrically leading to increased demands which are met by destroying natural habitats through land clearing for farming and settlement. Other factors which are contributing to the extinction of species include introduction of different species that could prove invasive, increased carbon emission contributing to global warming and associated climate changes and toxins which are altering the ecosystems.
Researchers have warned that if present agricultural practices as well as commercial policies of the world are not drastically altered, the possibility of a sixth mass extinction is a real possibility. Researchers have pegged the time line for the next extinction as in between 240 and 540 years. Experts feel that not enough is being done to curb carbon emissions and the only way in which the planet can be saved is by having a carbon neutral society.