The Sixth Mass Extinction

The Sixth Mass Extinction

There have been five mass extinctions in the last 500 million years - the last one being the Late Cretaceous extinction 65 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs.  Most biologists think we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction that could wipe out over half of all existing plant and animal species by 2100.

How can we save Biodiversity?

Many of us understand the magnitude of this problem of biodiversity loss and what it means for us and for the planet.  The question becomes, “What can one person out of seven billion possibly do to make a difference?” Economies of Scale are partly to blame for our predicament - If ten people want beaver hats, there is little impact on nature.  When 100 million people want beaver hats, you have a problem.  It works the other way as well.  If all of us do just a little bit to make a difference, positive changes will happen.

I suggest that we apply a “Conservation Litmus Test” to our daily decisions.  Don’t worry about making decisions that are the “best” for the planet - most of the time those choices are too expensive or time consuming or impractical for a variety of reasons.  Use the Conservation Litmus Test to make a “better” decision.  For example, you are ready to upgrade your gas guzzling vehicle.  The best for the planet might be to ride a bicycle.  If that is possible and practical, then go for it, but in most cases it won’t be.  So you might decide on buying a used Hybrid.  That is a “better” choice than others you can think of, but maybe not the “best” choice for the planet.  Nevertheless, it is one that you can make and therefore make a difference for biodiversity.

Many times the better choice will cost a little extra in time or money - consider that your small contribution to Mother Earth.  The Conservation Litmus Test of “better” choices can be applied to almost every facet of your current habits, and if you multiply those choices times seven billion, we’ll gradually shift the current consumption paradigm to a conservation paradigm and save ourselves and spaceship Earth.

I welcome your comments about how we can take actions to save the planet from ourselves.  Send them to Tom at [email protected]