Finding accurate numbers about rates of species extinction has been difficult, in part because we still don’t know how many species live on Earth. We’re finding new ones all the time.
A new study in Science Magazine notes that the current rate of species extinctions is much higher than previously thought.
According to a press release by some of the study’s leading scientists, the key findings from the study are:
1. Current extinction rates are 1,000 times the natural rate, higher than previously estimated.
2. Scientists know more than ever before about where the at-risk species are.
3. New technologies make it easier to find and monitor species and focus conservation actions more efficiently.
Researchers say that the current extinction rates are “likely still underestimated” and that “future rates will depend on many factors and are poised to increase.”
“Human beings have been devastating wildlife populations for centuries and their impacts on biodiversity have increased massively over the last hundred years,” says lead author Dr. Stuart Pimm. Factors contributing to species extinction include habitat loss, invasive species crowding out native species, climate disruption, and overfishing and the trade in animals and their parts.
Dr. Clinton Jenkins says that there is hope, though. He says that the study “… also points to solutions. It shows where biodiversity is, where the at-risk species concentrate, and highlights how advanced technologies can help focus research and conservation efforts.”
The repercussions of this study highlight why comprehensive humane education is so vital. With our current mainstream worldview, we tend to make short-sighted choices that cause a great deal of harm and view options with an either/or frame. Not only does humane education help people think critically about the impact of their choices and often inspire them to make choices that do more good and less harm, but it helps train them to become effective solutionaries who are able to look at the bigger picture and take action using a broader lens that benefits all.
Students educated with a humane education lens can create systems that meet human needs without destroying other beings or the planet on which we all depend.
For more information about endangered species, check out our new global issues guide.