Newly released statistics paint an alarming picture and suggest that the extinction rates of the Earth’s plants and animals are 10 to 100 times higher than previous assessments suggest. This means that species are becoming extinct at least 1,000 times faster than they did before humans.
The fact that these figures may even be understated, as they do not take millions of yet undiscovered species into account, makes them even more worrisome.
The statistics were included in the research published on Thursday by the journal Science and the report was deemed a commendable study by other experts.
There have been at least five mass extinctions in the history of the Earth. Evidence suggests there might be another one.
"We are on the verge of the sixth extinction," said Stuart Pimm, lead author of the review. "Whether we avoid it or not will depend on our actions."
The only difference will be that while the previous events were due to natural causes, human beings have a huge role to play in the current extinctions. According to a survey of 400 biologists conducted by New York's American Museum of Natural History in 1998, nearly 70 percent believed that we are currently in the early stages of a human-caused extinction, known as the Holocene extinction.
There are several factors contributing to the increase in extinction, the foremost being habitat destruction. Due to rapid industrialization and frantic urbanization, humans are damaging the natural habitat of the unfortunate plants and animals.
A mass scale extinction caused by our activities will be a burden on the human consciousness for ages to come. The time for substantial action is now.