Meanwhile, a New York Times opinion piece reports that a study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature shows almost 20,000 species across the globe are threatened. If the present rate of extinction continues, the world would lose three-quarters or more of its plant and animal species within the next few centuries. Such a loss could be categorized as the sixth mass extinction on Earth, the last occurring 65 million years ago with the extinction of dinosaurs.
"It is often forgotten how dependent we are on other species," writes Richard Pearson in the opinion piece. The American Museum of Natural History scientist, who authored Driven to Extinction: The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity, continues: "Ecosystems of multiple species that interact with one another and their physical environments are essential for human societies."
Photo by Thomas G. Barnes, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.