The 6th mass extinction hasn't begun yet, study claims, but Earth is barreling toward it

Dec 9, 2020
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Humans aren't responsible for plate tectonics, Continental Flood Basalts nor asteroid strikes which appear to be the drivers of the 5 past mass extinctions. Barring such events, humans appear to be moving to a limited self-inflicted extinction of H. Sapiens via increasing amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans, sadly taking other sundry complex species with them, probably over a couple of centuries; a lesser time if we indulge in our favorite past times of War, Famine, Plague, resource depletion. Ref: "Under a Green Sky" by Peter Ward.
 
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It seems that we really don't need global warming to create a mass extinction even - at least not for terrestrial macro organisms. Continued habitat loss should be sufficient to exterminate 69% of the fauna that humans lived with in pre-industrial times, even if we don't count the loss of the maga fauna lost at the end of the last ice age.
 
Dec 9, 2020
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The Passenger Pigeon is the iconic example of extinction via loss of habitat from human activity. The latest endangered species warning is for the beautiful Monarch Butterfly. Perhaps humans just don't to want to realize/recognize the situation that by our economic and social actions we have put ourselves on that endangered species list in a multi-directional way. Neither Nature nor Evolution can care which to me seems poetic justice as well as part of the Earth's historic cycles of life. ..... The designation "Sapiens" would appear to be a misnomer.
 
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What I am seeing does not look like extinction of homo sapiens as a species so much as a collapse of technological societies and the loss of knowledge that supports such a huge population, leading to a population crash and what is left of the human race making the Neanderthals look highly civilized and constructive, by comparison.

Whether homo sapiens will again figure things out and start a second technological revolution, or fade into oblivion as a non-dominant or extinct or evolved-in-a-different-direction species seems hard to predict at this point.
 
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@ Unclear Engineer: I hope your analysis is correct; I'm just not so sanguine about ability/willingness to mitigate or switch our fossil energy lifestyle.
I hope my analysis never gets tested! Remember, I posted that we could lose our technological society and become a far smaller population of brutish survivors treating each other badly as we deal with whatever is left of the ecosystem after it and our technological society collapses. Not at all a pretty picture.

But, comparing the projected CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere to past epochs in Earth's history, I don't see us turning it into something like Venus, which seems completely uninhabitable by any life form the we can conceive of.

The main problem for this mass extinction situation is the speed of the changes in the climate, ocean acidity, etc. would likely be too fast for evolution to keep up with, so species would die out before they could adapt/evolve into other species. But, considering how birds seemed to have survived the hellish conditions following the asteroid impact 66 million years ago, I think that species that can cope will not be totally extinguished.
 
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Dec 9, 2020
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None of us want the foolhardy destruction of our complex civilization and technological society via rapacious environmental collapse. Perhaps, age, current global environmental degradations and cynicism spur my harsh, bleak outlook for a humanity reduced to tribal clearings and campfires. Sadly, I perceive a "glide path" for current humanity ending in a "nose dive" into the uncertainty of a limited extinction possibility. The time frame seems variable. Yes, Evolution is random; could our genus survive; I don't know. Here are my references: "Under a Green Sky" by Peter Ward, "The Ends of The World" by Peter Brannen, and an oldie but goodie software analysis:, "World Dynamics" by Jay Forrester. ...... Now I really need that 2nd cup of coffee and to walk the dog. Great discussion, Thanks.
 

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