The Sixth Extinction: How Human Actions are Threatening Earth's Biodiversity and What We Can Do About It

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"The Sixth Extinction" explores how human actions are causing a mass extinction event, threatening Earth's biodiversity. Learn how to make a difference.



The Sixth Extinction is already here. It's a natural part of life on Earth and has occurred five times before, but this time we're causing it. As humans alter the climate, modify the landscape and change oceanic conditions, we are causing species loss. We can stop this extinction if we make changes now—but that will require us to think differently about our relationship to nature and how we want future generations to interact with wildlife.

The Sixth Extinction is Already Here

You've probably heard that we're in the midst of a mass extinction. It's true--the sixth extinction is happening now, and it's being caused by human actions. The last mass extinction was during the last ice age, when glaciers covered North America and Europe (and a lot of other places). During this time period, many species died out as the climate changed rapidly around them and their habitats disappeared under ice sheets or were altered by rising sea levels.

The current rate at which species are dying out is much higher than any previous mass extinction event in Earth's history; according to some estimates there have been more than 300 extinctions since 1500 CE alone! This means that many more plants and animals could disappear before our very eyes within our lifetimes if we don't act soon enough to stop them from disappearing forever."

A Natural History of Extinction

A species is a group of organisms that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. A population is a group of individuals from the same species that live in the same place at the same time. A habitat is an area where an organism lives, such as a forest or ocean. A niche refers to an organism's role within its habitat: for example, some birds eat seeds while others eat insects; both are birds but they fill different niches. In order to survive, each organism must find its own food source (a food web) and avoid being eaten by predators (a food chain). Ecosystems consist of all living things together with their physical environment

Humans Are Causing Species Loss by Changing the Climate and the Landscape

Climate change is the biggest threat to biodiversity. It's caused by humans, who have increased greenhouse gas emissions and changed the global climate. This has led to species loss and is considered a sixth mass extinction event.

The Sixth Extinction: How Human Actions are Threatening Earth's Biodiversity and What We Can Do About It

Humans are Causing Species Loss by Modifying the Ocean

  • Ocean acidification
  • Overfishing
  • Sealingife, such as abalone and sea otters, are also in danger from climate change. They depend on cold water to survive and may be unable to adapt to warming seas. As these animals lose their homes, they will become more vulnerable to poaching or other human actions that threaten their existence.

Humans are Causing Species Loss by Damaging Forests, Grasslands, and Other Habitats

The destruction of natural habitat is one of the main causes of species loss. Humans are also causing species loss by introducing invasive species, overharvesting resources and increasing pollution levels.

When we destroy forests and grasslands, we eliminate the homes of many animals who cannot survive without them. This can lead to reduced populations or even extinction for those animals that relied on these habitats for survival. In addition to destroying habitats directly through deforestation or urban development, humans cause further damage when they introduce non-native plants and animals into areas where they do not belong--these invasive species often outcompete native plants and animals for food or space so that they become dominant in the area (and thus threaten native biodiversity). Introducing exotic pets like cats or dogs into areas where they don't naturally occur can have similar effects on local wildlife populations since these pets often hunt wild animals as well as compete with them for food sources like rodents (cats), frogs (dogs), insects/snails etc..

We Can Stop the Sixth Extinction if We Make Changes Now.

We can stop the sixth extinction if we make changes now. We can reduce our impact on the environment and help prevent the loss of more species by making small changes in our everyday lives, in our communities and at a national level.

If you're interested in learning more about this topic or exploring other ways to get involved with conservation efforts, there are many organizations that offer volunteer opportunities around the world--from helping clean up beaches to monitoring wildlife populations (and even tracking down poachers).


The takeaway of this article is that we need to be more aware of our impact on the environment. By becoming more conscious about how we live, we can make small changes that will have a big impact on the health of our planet. The first step is to understand what's happening and why it matters--and this is where you come in!

The sixth extinction is happening right now, but there are lots of things you can do about it: from recycling more often at home or work, to learning about what species live near you so that if one goes extinct (like the passenger pigeon), its loss won't affect your life too much.


We can stop the Sixth Extinction. We can save our planet from this devastating loss of biodiversity, if we act now. The good news is that there are many things we can do to help, from eating less meat and dairy products to choosing sustainable forms of transportation like biking or riding the bus instead driving cars everywhere yourself.

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