“Were in the middle of the largest mass extinction of species in sixty-five million years.”3 Dr. Will Tuttle told me during an interview. There have been five previous mass extinctions. Scientists believe that each of these five extinctions was caused by events such as large meteors and asteroids colliding with the earth, volcanic eruptions, or massive glaciation.2The mass extinction Dr. Tuttle is talking about—the sixth one, the one we’re in the middle of—is different. As a plaque in the Hall of the Biodiversity in the American Museum of Natural History on Manhattan’s Upper west Side explains. “Right now we are in the midst of the Sixth Extinction, this time caused solely by humanity’s transformation of the ecological landscape.”3
Not only is the sixth extinction caused by how human beings are altering the earth, but as we destroy our planet’s interconnected biological systems by slashing the rain forests, contaminating and draining our finite freshwater supply, depleting the oceans of life, and pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we are rapidly and thoroughly annihilating our own species’ chances of survival.
On another sign in the Hall of Biodiversity is a quote from Stanford ecologist Paul Ehrlich:4
IN PUSHING OTHER SPECIES TO EXTINCTION, HUMANITY IS BUSY SAWING OFF THE LIMB ON WHICH IT PERCHES.
- Excerpt from book; ‘THE SUSTAINABILITY SECRET – RETHINKING OUR DIET TO TRANSFORM THE WORLD’ by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, page 81.