Last chance to see?
Researchers have compiled a global map of sites where animals and plants face imminent extinction.
It's so weird to think of animals just disappearing forever right in front of us. Extinctions happen all the time, no one can deny that. The largest our planet has seen was way back over 250 million years ago at the end of the Permian period. Over 90% of the earth's life forms were wiped out. And no, this ISN'T the same mass extinction as the dinosaurs. That's a whole separate mass extinction.
So why worry about the ones we're killing off now? Well, if we can save them, why wouldn't we? Diverse life is essential to our planet. By seeing and studying all the different life on this planet, we learn a lot about ourselves and the universe we're in. Where else can you find these creatures in the universe? So far, just the Earth.
The benefits go beyond simply understanding ourselves and the universe. These creatures can help us to find solutions to things. A lot of what we've yearned for are things we've seen in nature first and then tried to mimic. The best example of this is flying. Simply seeing birds in the sky made us KNOW that it was possible before we knew about physics. It took a long time to master but look what those silly birds inspired us to try.
If we can save some of these creatures then why don't we? As a whole, humanity rarely acts with any sort of compassion. Most of us pretend the universe doesn't exist out there, or just don't care. That's pretty sad. Sure, we'll probably be extinct ourselves in the next million years (and I'm being VERY optimistic) but while we're here, let's not mess the place up too bad. Some of these creatures may evolve into the next dominant species once we're wiped out. That's what happened with the dinosaurs, the pesky mammals began to take over after the dinos died out.
Maybe an alien race will take pity on us and run a campaign to "Save the Humans" when our numbers start to dwindle down. I hope their friends are more generous than we humans have generally been towards other species.
: Last chance to see by Douglas Adams : Buy you and me a copy :