Human beings have been around for short period of time, in fact Homo sapiens have only been around for the past 200,000 years. In reference to the life of the earth our existence is only a blip in time compared to other species who have been here for millions of years. However, our existence is causing a great change to Mother Earth’s natural environment, otherwise coined Anthropocene.
Anthropocene is a geologic chronological term which measures the impacts of human activities upon Earth and her ecosystems over time. This term was coined by Eugene F. Stoermer and was made famous by the Nobel-Prize winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen, “who regards the influence of human behavior on the Earth’s atmosphere in recent centuries as so significant as to constitute a new geological era for its lithosphere” (Wikipedia).
Our impacts upon Earth have become quite severe and it has come to the point where we need to make some significant changes to our policies regarding climate change. Climate change has become an important and highly controversial topic or the past couple of years. Mostly due to the fact that some do not believe in the phenomenon due to insufficient facts/concluding arguments. Anyway, this phenomenon is causing mass extinctions of species who have been around for thousands of years, and these are species the Earth and her ecosystems depend on.
Mass extinction is the result of these years of misuse and abuse on mother Earth, and the documentary, Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction, one can see the detrimental effects occurring because of our actions over the past century. We are entering the 6th mass extinction, however “unlike the previous five, this one will not take centuries to unfold—in fact, it will take place in our lifetimes” (Calloflife.org). Around half of the world’s plants and animals are set to disappear of the course of the next 30 to 40 years, remarkable. Remarkably bad that is, and if we are not able to fix this we will never see some species ever again, especially beloved creatures like the Polar Bear.
However, we depend on these species for a variety of reason -many people probably do not realize how dependent we are on all of Earth’s species; in fact most species help supply us fuel, shelter, medicine, food and clothing. As one can see we heavily rely upon a diverse system of species, “biological diverse ecosystems provide indispensable ecosystem services that we often take for granted” (Calloflife.org). Diversity amongst our ecosystems provide this idea of ecosytem services which are aids that help purify air and water, climate regulation, nutrient cycling/recycling in soil, prevention of erosion, pest control, pollutant control and much, much more. All of these services are essential for the human well being, as well as the well being of an ecosystem.
When there is a mass extinction, like the one we are seeing, these ecosystem services are going to be harder to provide; thus the quality of life decreases for plants, animals, and human beings. In turn, the loss of all these different species means that it will be harder for other species to thrive and even survive, meaning it will be harder for ecosystems to thrive. This loss can be attributed to six primary direct drivers as a result of human behavior: habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, climate change, and over-exploitation of resources.
For example, lets look at the recent movie phenomenon: The Lorax, based on Dr. Seuss’ book of the same name. This movie shows how badly humans are degrading their surrounding environments and to the point where species are dying out, or moving on. In the fact the movie clearly shows, and well, how ones greed can lead to an entire species
dying out, and in this case that would be the Truffula Tree. Without the Truffula tree, species that relied upon it for shelter, food, and warmth disappeared along with it; and the environment became bleak, smoggy, dirty, and uninhabitable. Thneedville needs those trees for all the benefits it as well as the ecosystem it belongs to provides, the services; just how our world needs its species to thrive and create purified air and water systems for all species to blossom.
Our race needs us to be more responsible for its actions because if we don’t the repercussions could be endless and unfixable. In the end, “You cannot reap what you don’t sow”, so I say “let it grow” (The Lorax).
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– Dr. Seuss