Species Extinction: Hard Times Require Hard Decisions

Science’s Compass’, “Can We Defy Nature’s End” (“Defy”) and Nature’s, “Has the Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction Already Arrived?” (“Extinction”) scrutinize the decreasing biodiversity that is an indictment of a sixth mass extinction event, albeit from two uniquely different angles. “Defy” argues of the practical measures that the world’s governments and non-governmental organizations can enact to save species. Whether it is from properly training a new generation of conservationists or rectifying the subsidies that make unsustainable practices possible, there are realistic ways to ensure that people may not need to deplete their resources for the sake of economic certitude, and in fact can prove a more sustainable, productive way of life.

Alternatively, “Extinction” assess the rate and magnitude that leads to a mass extinction, and summarizes that the last 500 years have produced, “faster than or as fast (dependent on the organism) as all rates” that contributed to the Big Five extinctions events that took hundreds of thousands or millions of years. This is great cause of concern, for the pace is by far exceeding natural events due to anthropogenic causes. Both papers describe that in order to prevent more species from extinction, which include ourselves, our policies and actions must reflect our role in the degradation of our world and our responsibility to it. These articles were strikingly poignant about what we can do to stave off further extinctions and what we are doing to promote it. The historical records that we have about the 2 Big Five extinction events are vital indicators to reference, but it is the speed that is perhaps one of the greatest warning signs about our consumption. We do have the means to do something about it-now it is dependent on the will to act.

As “Defy” states, many museums, agencies, and entities have vast amounts of knowledge at their disposal, but it is, “our failure. . . to distribute what we know”, to the world. Additionally, protecting biodiversity can be affordable to if we regard the services economically-for all those private, government, or otherwise interests that are keen to value something in dollars, some summed costs will be 1/1000th of the ecosystem services that we receive, for free now. The degradation of our world is painfully obvious for many people, but what is not so obvious are solutions. As we have read, strictly giving the populace information that can be denoted as overtly-negative or without a solution does not provide us the answers-it makes people avoid the topic.

“Defy” was an informative read because it showed realistic solutions that one can have about this extinction. While “Extinction” was beneficial for its analytics, I can see how many people lose hope or even interest in preserving our world when there is so much doubt and negative news regarding its survival. These are two different approaches to the problem. It is up to resource managers to observe which ones are effective.

18 May 2020
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