The 6th Extinction
A mass extinction is under way. Human activity, not natural phenomenon, is the difference between this extinction and the five previous big extinctions that have occurred in Earth’s history. The current extinction is driven by habitat loss, overexploitation of species, invasive species and pollution. All of these, the result of humans.
The current extinction rate is between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural rate. (International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN) Current estimates put the extinction rate at roughly 30,000 species per year which is about three per hour. By the end of this century, about half of Earth’s plant species could be gone. (Pitman and Jorgensen, 2002) For an assessment of global biodiversity, refer to the IUCN Red List.