Written on the final, frozen day of 1900, Thomas Hardy’s poem The Darkling Thrush describes a harsh, ice-blasted landscape devoid of life. Hardy’s depiction of a time “when frost was spectre-gray” evokes a winter that is beginning to exist only in memory. The winter of 2019-2020 was fundamentally different from…
Our planet is in the midst of what scientists call the sixth mass extinction. Since 1900, approximately 69 mammal species and 400 other types of vertebrates, including the Yangtze river dolphin and the passenger pigeon, have disappeared from our planet.
Of 12,914 evaluated plant species, 68 percent are in danger of becoming extinct. The loss of a species can impact ecosystems in ways we are just beginning to understand.
The loss of a single species can have profound effects on other species, including humans. Case in point: bees, the sole pollinator for a wide variety of plants and a critical catalyst in global food production.
Bees are suffering massive population losses due to the use of deadly pesticides. If bees were to become extinct, many popular foods would also disappear—among them apples, tomatoes, and almonds.