Monday, January 28, 2008

Earth faces its sixth extinction

MICHAEL NOVACEK
Published: January 27th, 2008 01:00 AM

"More than a decade ago, many scientists claimed that humans were demonstrating a capacity to force a major global catastrophe that would lead to a traumatic shift in climate, an intolerable level of destruction of natural habitats and an extinction event that could eliminate 30 to 50 percent of all living species by the middle of the 21st century. Now those predictions are coming true."

The news of environmental traumas assails us from every side – unseasonal storms, floods, fires, drought, melting ice caps, lost species of river dolphins and giant turtles, rising sea levels potentially displacing inhabitants of Arctic and Pacific islands and hundreds of thousands of people dying every year from air pollution. Last week brought more – new reports that Greenland’s glaciers appear to be melting away at an alarming rate.

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