The Warning Signs For A Mass Extinction Event On Earth Are Increasing, Say Scientists
Credits: The New York Times
Time after time, we've heard scientists warning us about the disastrous effects that are happening to the environment, but it seems like they've mostly fallen on deaf ears. But this time, the warning signs are coming from nature itself, and the message isn't kind.
According to a team of researchers at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, there has been a rise in cases of harmful algal and bacterial blooms being spotted on shores across the globe, which is an early indicator of an ongoing ecological disaster that threatens to end all life on Earth.
These fungal spikes, which are unsurprisingly caused by human activities like deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, can reportedly turn freshwater habitats into dead zones and slowly wipe out other species, eventually causing a mass extinction event.
In fact, the last time this phenomenon was thought to have happened was around 251 million years ago, during an event now known as the end-Permian event (EPE) or "The Great Dying", which wiped out over 90% of species on Earth. Scientists believe it took anywhere from two to 10 million years for life to recover after the extinction.
However, this doesn't mean we're all going to die in 10 years' time. The silver lining is that compared to the six-fold increase in carbon dioxide during the EPE, our carbon dioxide levels have not yet doubled since pre-industrial times.
“But with the present steep increase in carbon dioxide, we're playing catch-up pretty well,” said palaeobotanist and lead researcher Chris Mays. Hopefully with this new piece of information, more leaders can start taking action immediately.