Using the experience he has acquired over the years as a paleontologist, Michael Novacek urges people to take care of the environment as one of the ways of avoiding extinction of more species in the article “The Sixth Extinction: It Happened To Him, It’s Happening To You”, which he published on January 13 2008 in the Washington Post. In his article, he notes that environmental problems, including, “unseasonal storms, floods, fires, drought, melting ice caps, lost species of river dolphins, and giant turtles, and rising sea levels” have continued to increase in many places around the world. Scientists have warned concerning the effects of human activity on the environment and the climate for a long time. They noted that continuing with the everyday practices would contribute to eliminating about 30 to 50% of all the living species in the current century. Michael notes that the last extinction event, which was caused by an asteroid, happened 65 million years ago and it wiped out all the dinosaurs and 70% of the species at the time.
Michael warns that the world is about to experience another round of extinction. He notes that 16,306 species were classified as threatened with extinction in 2007. The categories included mammals, birds, amphibians, and pine and coniferous trees. The world would be transformed if some species were to become extinct. Present and future generations would suffer because some of the food would also be destroyed. Michael notes that increased awareness on environmental issues is primarily focused on global warming and climate change. He notes that other changes such as overpopulation, pollution, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity are also important. He also notes that environmental efforts have led to the conservation of some species. The level of pollution has leveled off in North America and decreased in Europe. However, he concludes that more needs to be done.
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