Top positive review
Rapid extinction of plants and animals
5 June 2016
During the history of life on earth, 5 mass extinctions have taken place so far. These extinctions took place due to natural climate change (over a period of thousands of years) or asteroid impact. This book focuses on the 6th great extinction that is taking place right now.
Thanks to human beings, animal and plants are disappearing at an astonishing rate over a period of decades. Such a small time period does not allow them to adapt themselves to the new threats facing them. The author throws light on the process of extinction by explaining 3 different timelines: species which went extinct thousands of years ago, species which vanished a few years ago and species which might be wiped out from the face of the earth in the near future.
Hence, different animals or plants are put under scrutiny in each chapter. We also get a sense of the evolution of scientific knowledge that human beings possessed during the last few centuries. Darwin, Cuvier, etc., make frequent appearances to show where they agreed, disagreed and came up ideas far ahead of their time.
But there is no to beat around the bush. This is a very depressing read despite the author’s effort to make it seem interesting, investigative and sometimes funny. There were occasions where certain extreme events were almost relayed in a scientific and calm manner rather than in an alarmist tone. The rate at which we, human beings, are wiping out the diversity from our planet is extremely disturbing.
The scientific evidence is provided in a very simple manner. The author contacts a specialist in a certain field and then accompanies that scientist or professor as well as their students usually on a field trip in South America.
To sum it up, this is a look back at the past to shed on the increasingly predictable future. And the future is very bleak and might already be beyond the point of no return.