Are your aware the world is going through it’s sixth mass extinction? “Unlike past extinctions caused by events like asteroid strike, volcanic eruptions, and natural climate shifts the current crisis is almost entirely caused by us-humans” (Biological Diversity). Past extinctions include Ordovician-Silurian mass extinction, the first extinction, which happened through natural climate change (BBC). The Late Devonian mass extinction, the second extinction, which happened through asteroid impacts and climate change (BBC). Permian mass extinction, the third extinction, which happened through asteroid impact, flood basalt eruptions, catastrophic methane release, a drop in oxygen levels, and sea level fluctuations (BBC). Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction, the fourth extinction, which happened through Climate change, flood basalt eruptions and an asteroid impact (BBC). The last extinction, the fifth, Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction, which happened through flood basalt eruptions affecting the world’s climate, combined with drastic falls in sea level and huge asteroid or comet struck (BBC). All happened through the events like asteroid strike, volcanic eruptions, and natural climate shifts. Humans are creating the world’s sixth mass extinction through a combination of habitat encroachment, fragmentation, etc, but the biggest reason of all is global warming (BBC). If you aren’t already aware global warming is “warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space” (NASA). Global warming began thousands of years ago but has rapidly increased over time due to human development. It has a huge impact on mass extinction because species are unable to adapt to the series of climate change. According to Project Syndicate “Species are now going extinct ten to several thousand times faster than they did during stable periods in planet history.” This is a problem because wildlife contributes and impacts our environment in several ways. They include food chains, which determine the equilibrium of populations in their habitat. “Food chains are an essential link, for they associate animals to plants (in the case of depredators such as herbivores, fruit- and grain-eaters) and to other animals (in the case of predators)” (Impact of Wildlife on the Environment). Also, pollination, which sustain our ecosystems and produce natural resources by helping plants reproduce.
Though nearly half of the US disagree that humans caused global warming, 48% in fact (ProCon). They are right. There are a series of events that have caused global warming which include solar activity, natural forest fires, melting permafrost, but human activity is the leading cause (Natural Causes Of Global Warming). Unlike solar activity, natural forest fires, and melting permafrost human activity is not a natural occurring process. Therefore humans have applied more stress to our atmosphere that already existed. We have applied more stress to the atmosphere by deforestation, which is “the cutting down of trees and plants to make way for any development activity” (Man-made Causes of Global Warming). Another would be overpopulation. This is a contributor to global warming because more people means more demand for food, cars, and homes. Also, more people means more carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Another would be fossil fuels. Everyday vehicles release various amount of gases into our atmosphere. This is the main contributor to global warming. Though global warming seems impossible to fix there are several ways this crisis may be solved. Some small ways that everyday people can do that will reduce global warming include taking showers instead of baths, making better choices when buying foods, and recycling.
The first way humans can impact global warming would be taking showers instead of baths. Taking showers instead of baths will impact global warming because when taking showers you can save up to four times less energy than a bath (Global Warming Facts). You can also save more energy by using low-flow showerheads. With using low-flow showerheads you not only reduce energy usage it also, conserves water, protects the environment, water habitats, and save money (Global Warming Facts). By doing this you can save up to 350 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and washing your clothes in cold or warm water can save up to 500 pounds per year (Global Warming Facts). Another way you can be more energy efficient is by using less hot water. Using less hot water can be more energy efficient because it takes a ton of energy to heat water (Global Warming Facts). These methods were proven by Global Warming Facts. By doing this humans will positively impact our atmosphere rather than destroy it.
The second way humans can impact global warming in positive way would be making better choices when buying foods. By that I mean buying locally grown, produced foods, and organic foods as much as possible instead of frozen foods. Buying locally grown and produced foods will save fuel because the average meal in the United States travels up to 1,200 miles to your local grocery store (Global Warming Facts). As well as saving energy because producing frozen foods uses up to ten times more energy (Global Warming Facts). Buying locally grown and produced foods will also impact us because by doing that it will keep money within our communities (Global Warming Facts). Buying organic foods will impact our environment because organic soils capture and store more carbon dioxide than other types of soils (Global Warming Facts). “ If we grew all of our corn and soybeans organically, we’d remove 580 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere!” (Global Warming Facts). Some places you can purchase locally grown, produced foods, and organic foods would be at your local farmers markets. By buying from your local farmers markets you can reduce the amount of energy required to grow and transport the food to you by one fifth (Global Warming Facts).
The third way you can impact global warming would be to recycle. Recycle plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, organic waste, and shopping bags. Recycling at least half of your home waste you can save up to 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide a year (Global Warming Facts). By recycling you not only impact your environment, but you can get some money into your pocket by recycling all your aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and glass bottles at your local recycling centers. Recycling your organic waste you can eliminate about 3% of the greenhouse gas emissions (Global Warming Facts). Another thing that you can recycle is your shopping bags. “When shopping, it saves energy and waste to use a reusable bag instead of accepting a disposable one in each shop. Waste not only discharges CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, it can also pollute the air, groundwater and soil” (Global Warming Facts).
Global warming has a great effect on not only our planet, but also mass extinction. This matters because species have a huge impact on our planet. According to One Green Planet humans would not exist without ants, termites, bats, frogs, and birds. Though ants are sometimes pesky creatures at times they actually provide lots to our ecosystems. They aid in decomposition, which maintains healthy soil for plant (food) growth and recycle nutrients. Seed harvesting, when doing this ants transport seeds to their nutrient rich nests where plants can grow safely. Also pick off pests such as fly, flea, bedbug eggs, larvae, and nymphs by eating them (One Green Planet). Termites contribute by devouring decomposing materials like leaves and tree branches and recycle ecosystem energy, and balancing biogeochemical cycles. Without termites our ecosystems would be overloaded with cellulose based litter. Though bats are stereotyped as blood sucking creatures they are very important for our ecosystem. They provide insect control services, plant dispersal, and pollinate plants. Bats provide insect control services by consuming millions of insects each year (One Green Planet). They aid in plant dispersal by guano, which means bat droppings (One Green Planet). When using this technique they are able to help plants grow and survive in a variety of locations. They disperse avocado, fig, cashew, and date seeds. Not only do bats disperse seeds, but they also aid in restoring forests (One Green Planet). Bats are pollinators for over 500 plants (One Green Planet). “Most flowering plants do not have the ability to produce seeds without being pollinated. When bats drink a flower’s nectar, they subsequently pick up pollen and transfer it as they feed” (One Green Planet). Frogs contribute to the ecosystem by doing contamination control and insect control. They do contamination control by acting as bio-indicators, which means “they indicate the health of their ecosystems” (One Green Planet). They are able to do that because of their skin is permeable and porous allowing toxic substances to be absorbed in both terrestrial and aquatic environments (One Green Planet). They do insect control by eating insects such as flies, mosquitoes, moths, and dragon flies. Birds contribute to the environment by doing a broad variety of roles such as forest decomposition, insect pest control, nutrient recycling, bio-indication of ecosystem health, plant pollination, and seed dispersal (One Green Planet). Just imagine the world without these species. These species help us survive, now we need to help them survive. You can do that by doing the simple things listed, which were taking showers instead of baths and using less hot water and low flow shower heads when doing so. Making better choices when buying foods like organic foods, produced foods, and locally grown foods. Also, recycling your glass bottles, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, organic waste, and grocery bags. Everyone can do them and it all can start with you!
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Ehrlich, Paul R. “How Humans Cause Mass Extinctions.” Project Syndicate, 12 Aug. 2015, http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/mass-extinction-human-cause-by-paul-r–ehrlich-and-anne-h–ehrlich-2015-08. Accessed 8 May 2017.
Dorst, J. “Impact of Wildlife on the Environment.” Revue Scientifique Et Technique (International Office of Epizootics)., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 1991, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1782418. Accessed 8 May 2017.
“How To Stop Global Warming: Top 50 Things to Do.” Global Warming Facts, globalwarming-facts.info/50-tips/5/. Accessed 8 May 2017.
“Humans Would Not Exist Without These 5 Animals.” One Green Planet, http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/animals-that-help-us-to-survive/. Accessed 9 May 2017.
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“.” The Extinction Crisis, http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/. Accessed 8 May 2017.