Starting this year more species of plants and animals will go extinct than ever before since the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction nearly 65 million years ago. This time something is different though. The cause of extinction isn’t a natural one, but man-made and totally preventable, but why aren’t we saving the planet and its biodiversity? This could be a new fundamental question of philosophy, science and religion, but I doubt we will ever find an answer. By mid-century, nearly 50% of all species on the planet will become extinct. It is no longer a presumption, but a certainty.
Children born 20 years from now will no longer get to see a live elephant, polar bear or rhino and, when they realize that these losses were totally avoidable, what will we tell them? That our governments and the corporations controlling them couldn’t quench their thirst for power and resources? But it won’t matter who’s fault it was anyway because it will be too late.
The underlying causes are most obvious: overfishing, pollution, extensive coastal development, deforestation, ocean acidification, illegal wildlife trade, climate change in general, anthropogenization, you name it. Only humans seem to flourish. The population of the planet will most certainly surpass 10 billion by the end of the century and the busiest hub will be Africa, followed by Asia. Needless to say, this will only affect even more the remaining biodiversity and abuse the natural resources until there’s none left.
When I was younger I thought that in the future the world will be 100% pollution-free, living in harmony with nature and with each-other. I realize how childish I was because back then I didn’t know mankind’s greed can be so great that it can lead to self-destruction. Even so, since there’s no worse death than that of hope, I still believe and nurture a dream that someday we can be good again.
Here are some of the animals which will most likely become extinct in 2015: