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A long time ago, dragonflies spanned five feet and centipedes, ten. The glorious time was the Carboniferous period; a time known for growth and prosperity. The creatures that roamed earth were limitless and beautiful. That is until the forests became deserts and oceans became flaming acid. The world would stop in its tracks due to methane-producing bacteria. This was known as the Great Dying; almost 90% of species suffered a horrendous extinction. Bacteria produced that mass extinction—but we as humans will soon have done even worse.
A mass extinction is a worldwide, rapid decrease in the species that roam earth; land or sea. Biodiversity is crucial to the earth's well-being, but it is decreasing at a rate higher than ever—100 times higher than normal, and all thanks to us, says Nadia Drake of National Geographic. The damage we’ve inflicted has become irreversible; it would take thousands of years to genetically simulate the creatures that we’ve already lost today. Scientist estimate that up to 100,000 species become extinct each year and these are only the species we know. We, as the dominant species of this Earth, have destroyed our resources and ruined the species that roam it. But we must conserve what we have left, and at least try and save the lives that we still can. We've killed these kingdoms; we’re murderers.
The rate of extinction among organisms parallels the rate of the Great Dying. At this time, it is scientifically proven that we have created a mass extinction. However, this news is not widespread, and by the time the world realizes, it will already be too late. Five mass extinctions have happened before, but one clear fact stands alone after these extinctions: they take time to happen and even more time to recover, and it is rare for a species to survive the extinction, nor the treacherous recovery period. It is unlikely that humans will remain untouched. We are digging our own graves with smiles of denial on our faces. Although we shouldn’t stop our conservation efforts, we must accept the damage we’ve done for what it is.
Although most species remain in endangerment to the extinction, species that reside on islands are at an exceptional risk. One of these species is the unimaginably beautiful blue whale. It pains me that us, being exceptionally small in comparison to these gentle giants, can be so detrimental to their population. According to CNN’s John Sutter, whales have existed for nearly 60 million years, and they’ve survived the one mass extinction before. Although the dinosaurs died out, the blue whales remained rulers of the ocean. But now, there are only 10,000 blue whales in existence, and there decline is due to purely human cruelty.
Blue whales have no natural predators except for us, and we aren’t trying to stop this horrendous cycle. Blue whales used to prosper, but now they will never return from the great depths in which they dive.
When will we realize that we’re the killers? When will animals lives be as valuable as ours?
We kill animals daily by supporting companies who take away habitats, driving cars that emit poisonous toxins and forgetting to turn off lights mindlessly. As Kristine Phillips of the Washington Post likes to say, "If we put just a small amount of effort into our conserving our environment, there will at least be a small amount of change." We have cornered ourselves into a dark shadow of existence, but our conservation efforts are just as crucial, if not more, than our realization of what we’ve done. We’re the monsters our children envision in their worst nightmares. We should be running from ourselves.
The lives we’ve sacrificed for our own comfort are too many. Although all hope is gone for stopping this mass extinction, we can prolong this for many generations to come. Although not a great one, this is the only option. As Jeffrey Kluger says, "...we shouldn’t stop our conservation efforts but enforce them instead." This means that we should invest in green energy, and recycling. Some people say that although we’re experiencing the next mass extinction, it is not caused by humans. Not only are they wrong, they are what furthers the slaughter of countless creatures across the world. When a problem feels irrelevant to us, we pretend it is nonexistent, making the problem escalate farther than it has to. Our efforts are crucial to the survival of species and the survival of our own.
We should protect the species that have become helpless to our abuse of power. The earth is a living, breathing being, and we’ve killed her. We deserve to feel the pain of our actions, but we can’t let this burden stop us from making a change. We can move in the right direction, yet people refuse. We must stand together and make the world a place of prosperity and peace for as long as nature permits us. Are we experiencing the next mass extinction? Yes, and once it takes force, we’re goners.