In The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert examines various aspects of this theory. She begins by stating our understanding of evolution and extinction, beginning in revolutionary France, where Georges Cuvier’s work made extinction a conceivable subject for further studies. By taking at how we have come to understand the planet, Kolbert stresses the imbalance between our actions and our absence of understanding and control over their consequences. Kolbert then takes a look at various instances of historical and modern extinctions. Each is read as a case study, explaining how past extinctions occurred and awareness of humans role in the forthcoming destruction.
Extinction is irreversible, and by illustrating our lack of control, the book begins with the story of the tiny Panamanian golden frog to illustrate some of extinction’s characteristics, specifically its suddenness. The frogs began to slowly disappear around Santa Fe, Panama, but then “the wave hit.” Kolbert travels to the Amphibian Centre of El Valle, where the golden frog and many other species that can no longer survive in the wild have found refuge. Edgardo Griffith director of El Valle, tells Kolbert, “We are losing all these amphibians before we even know that they exist.”
Elizabeth Kolbert studies the relationship among humans and the environment, and reasons that human behavior is causing the sixth in the world’s history of mass extinction. Everywhere throughout the world, different species are as of now going extinct, on the account of the declining measure of accessible undeveloped land and the rising temperatures. In Panama, for instance, the population of golden frogs was once impossible to avoid and has now dwindled to a few dozen. Kolbert’s visit to Panama to study the golden frog encouraged her to learn more about extinction and its place in the history of science.
Kolbert discovered that for most of the history of science, humans did not comprehend that some animals had gone extinct. It was not until Georges Cuvier, proposed that some species that lived thousands of years ago are no longer alive. Cuvier and his counterparts discovered prehistoric fossils of large mammals, such as the mastodon and the giant sloth, further proving the theory of extinction. In any case, Cuvier believed that extinction was a moderate, continuous and fairly irregular process.
The rate of extinction is everlastingly increasing. Reef corals, sharks and rays, mammals, reptiles, and all birds are heading toward extinction. These misfortunes are happening throughout the world and it’s only getting worse. When we map the Earth’s history, we find ourselves on another mass extinction, and this time, we are the ones prodding the planet over the edge.
From the earliest starting point of the book, we read about the devastating impacts of our actions on biodiversity but also the adherence of preservation groups attempting to save species and habitats. Examining various species and ecosystems feature the beauty of our planet and the abuse it is experiencing. Earth as we see it can still be saved and Kolbert is convinced that the ideal approach to bring awareness and responsibility is to demonstrate the lives of the people committed to conserving the planet and those that are working to save it.
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