March 15, 2011

Study raises concern for the Earth's 6th mass extinction

In a new study published in the journal Nature, several scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, USA; the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina, USA evaluated animals currently listed as "critically endangered," "endangered" and "threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

They compared current endangered species' conditions with five previous extinction periods over the past 540 million years, when at least 75% of all animal species disappeared.

Their conclusions included the observation that while the Earth has currently lost a relatively small percentage of species, the rate at which they are disappearing now, which some scientists have said is 1,000 times faster than the normal pace of evolution, could set off a sixth mass extinction in as little as three centuries.

At the same time, co-author Professor Anthony Barnosky of the University of California, Berkeley said that it is not too late if we act now to resolve habitat loss, disease, global warming and other largely human-caused issues.

He stated, "It's very important to devote resources and legislation toward species conservation if we don't want to be the species whose activity caused a mass extinction.”

Thank you Professor Barnosky and other international colleagues for your extensive work in showing our potential for an irreversible tragedy perishing that would ultimately affect our own survival. May we act swiftly to preserve the lives of all beings on the planet.

Speaking in a November 2010 video message presented during a climate change conference in the United Kingdom, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the root cause of such losses and what can be done to stop them.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: A recent study by the United Nations found that plants and animals are now disappearing at up to 1,000 times the natural background rate of extinction, with vital life-supporting ecosystems that could soon be irreversibly damaged.

The livestock industry is the leading cause of an alarming decline in wild species. In an October 2010 study, Dutch researchers found that protecting natural areas is not sufficient to stop these fast extinctions of flora and fauna; rather, one of the most effective policies is changing to a no-animal diet, meaning plant-based food.

So if we stop all animal products - fish, egg, meat, and dairy - we will save the oceans, save the climate;
and we could halt also biodiversity loss.

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