The Earth has entered a new period of extinction, a study by three US universities has concluded, and humans could be among the first casualties.
The report, led by the universities of Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley, said vertebrates were disappearing at a rate 114 times faster than normal.
The findings echo those in a report published by Duke University last year.
One of the new study’s author said: We are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event.
The last such event was 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs were wiped out, in all likelihood by a large meteor hitting Earth.
I am upset that I had failed to notice such a dramatic drop in the bird population until the rambutan mystery led me to it. Having noticed, what can I do? The immediate impulse is to rouse concern. The internet calls. So I must get messages sent through Facebook. I can also share my findings, through electronic links, with likely concerned others. I can try to create an internet-based response, to save our parakeets, orioles, barbets and drongos and urge everybody to join in preventing these helpless birds disappearing altogether from our district.
We are made to feel engaged and empowered through our internet links. But will my connectivity make a difference to the drongos? I wonder whether our personal media access and internet-empowered capabilities have quietly made us even less capable of influencing our world than before.
Dr. Diyanath Samarasinghe