Every so often, throughout the existence of our planet, something similar to a cleansing event takes place. There have been documented episodes within the history of Earth when the majority of species around the planet have gone extinct at seemingly same points of time. These identified periods of planetary purification have come to be called extinction events.
Ther have been five mass extinction events throughout the course of Earth’s existence. The first mass extinction event occurred at an estimated 440 million years ago. The Ordovician-Silurian Extinction happened when ice levels rose around the planet, trapping areas of fresh water from the access of living creatures. The increase of ice caused sea levels to drop, leading to losses of life throughout many usually oceanic regions of Earth.
The Late Devonian Extinction happened at an estimate of 360 million years passed, when nearly seventy percent of marine life was eliminated. This was alleged to have happened over a course of twenty million years. An extended portion of this extinction period extended to areas between 100,000 years and 300,000 years, eliminating extreme amounts of sea life.
The Permian-Triassic Extinction is being labeled as the greatest of the Earth’s most devastating dying episodes. This was 250 million years in Earth’s past. Ninety percent of all life died at that time. Speculations include theories of an asteroid impact, extreme volcanic eruptions, and a combinaton of both of these deadly occurrences. Over ninety percent of life on Earth died within this extinction event.
It was 200 million years in the past when The Triassic-Jurassic Extinction Event took place. Here, roughly twenty percent of marine life vanished, along with most extreme-sized amphibians, most near-mammals, and all of the pre-dinosaurs that are called archosaurs. It is speculated that this extinction event occurred because of an asteroid impact to Earth, yet no underground evidence has been excavated to prove this theory.
Possibly the most recognized of all of the extinction events is The Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction, also called the K/T Extinction Event. This is the extinction event that occurred sixty-five million years ago, leading to the disappearance of the dinosaurs. The Chixulub impact site off of The Yucatán Peninsula is where an asteroid crater currently exists, dating back to the general time when all dinosaurs, along with half of all other species on Earth, were eliminated.
Some scientists are speculating that we are on the verge of entering a sixth extinction period. There remains the underground chatter of asteroid impact within the next six to twelve months. Yet, as that seems unlikely, it remains necessary to examine the actual causes that could lead to such extreme life erasure and overall devastation to our Earth.
Much evidence is pointing toward humanity as the prime perpetrator of this point of planetary life privation. It is being stated with much scientific evidence, that the actions of human beings will have driven Earth to a point where she/it can no longer sustain life on a major scale. Warning signs are appearing blatantly, which include the depletion of the ozone layer, global warming, and currently excessive losses of animal and plant species. A poll that was given to biologists around the planet revealed that seventy percent of them believe that Earth currently is in the initial throes of a mass extinction period.
What do we do? What can we do? Suggestions, demands are being made that point toward the needs to handle the most obvious problems, first. This does include putting a handle on human-inflicted damages to Earth, along with creating restrictions to currently unchecked human activities that continue to ravage the planet. If actions are not made to correct contaminations, to patch the problems caused by pollution, and to stop our singular mindset of being the only items of significance to Earth, then we will fall easily into this sixth mass extinction period. Yet, beliefs must stand that we can transcend what is being projected, showing that we can put a stop to the actions that are wrecking our world, and that we can reverse all which can be reversed, so that our Earth will remain for generations of species that may exist within eons to come!