Planet Earth’s Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This Time, We are the Asteroid.

November 21, 2014

Links here:

Read “The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert:

Rodolfo Dirzo et al. “Defaunation in the Anthropocene”
Stuart Pimm et al. “Biodiversity of Species and Their Rates of Extinction”

Get to know an endangered species:

Half of world’s wildlife has died off in past 40 years:

oktobeBTW. “It’s Ok to be Smart” with host Bill Hanson, might be the “Science Guy” to a newer generation.

Earth’s species are dying off at an alarming pace, with species going extinct at thousands of times their natural rate. There have been five major extinction events in the history of life on Earth, but scientists are beginning to realize that we’re at the start of a new great era of dying: Welcome to the Sixth Extinction.

Many people outside of science aren’t even aware that this is going on, because most of the time when we talk about extinction we’re talking about cute or charismatic species like pandas, tigers, or tortoises. Those animals are certainly in trouble, but this problem goes much deeper.

It’s time we take a long hard look at the current “great dying,” because, well… you know how an asteroid killed the dinosaurs? Turns out this time WE are the asteroid.

It may not be the most cheery episode of It’s Okay To Be Smart ever, but I think it’s one of the most important.

When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.” – John Muir

2 Responses to “Planet Earth’s Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This Time, We are the Asteroid.”

  1. indy222 Says:

    We’re so fortunate to have skilled videographers who contribute so much time and effort to make these nuggets of good science. I am constantly scanning for good ones to include in my materials as I teach my courses in astronomy and climate science. I hope to make my own, if I can just get the bureaucratic forces of evil to get out of my way, that is.

  2. The extinction must be far greater than anyone realizes, everywhere that RoundUp is being used.

    In deep southern Illinois, imagine, no bug splats on my windshield, the huge windshield of a 1996 Tahoe, for more than 3 years. No bug splats when I drove from Carbondale to Fort Worth in August this year. Really?

    And, in all that time, I think only one splat of bird poop.

    When I was a child, birds were so common that anyone standing outside had a chance of being hit with bird poop.

    When I was in high school, we often had to wash off our windshields and radiator grills twice a day, there were so many bugs around.

    In all that time, I saw maybe only 3 or 4 fireflies.

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