Wildlife & Biodiversity

2022 too short, too far: A sixth mass extinction is unfolding

Down To Earth recaps the primary environment, health and developmental news from 2022

By DTE Staff
Published: Saturday 24 December 2022
2022 too short, too far: How the sixth mass extinction unfolded

The planet’s sixth mass extinction is underway, courtesy humans. Report after report has attested to this fact. This marks the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch.

As we enter 2023, many more species are expected to go extinct as a result of human activities. Go through the following selection of Down To Earth’s articles on what the ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ is all about: 

A new study led by the University of Hawaii in January this year claimed that Earth is witnessing its sixth mass extinction event. 

Read more: Sixth Extinction? Over 150,000 species vanished in last 500 years

The Living Planet Report by World Wide Fund for Nature released in October this year said there has been a 69 per cent decline in the wildlife populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish, across the globe in the last 50 years. 

Read more: Living Planet Report 2022: Wildlife populations decline by 69% in 50 years

Scientists have also warned of an imminent mass annihilation of marine species similar to one 250 million years ago that wiped out most lives in oceans 

Read more: Oceans Great Dying 2.0: Mass extinction haunts oceans

Evolution and extinction are intimately linked to each other. But never before has such a rapid change in biodiversity been witnessed.

Read more: Good while it lasted - I: 6th mass extinction underway, courtesy humans

Studies show that loss of species is taking place across all ecosystems — from land to oceans, from sea surface to the yet-to-be-fully-explored seafloors, from forests to desert, and from swamps to rivers. This proves that a mass extinction event is taking place.

Read more: Good while it lasted - II: 6th mass extinction an all pervasive loss

Humans have annihilated 83 per cent of all wild mammals and half of all plants, according to a census of the biomass on Earth. 

Read more: Good while it lasted - III: Why this is a mass extinction

The world may miss the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets by a wide margin if human civilisation does not pull up its socks and promptly acts to protect the natural order.

Read more: Good while it lasted - IV: Anthropocene epoch & mass extinction

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