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The Extinction, The Environment and The Consequences: Why You Should Care

by shesawildflower

It is common knowledge that the Amazon Rainforest is often referred to as the lungs of the earth—in fact, all of our forests make up this vital organ of ours. So why is that according to the IUCN, we’ve cleared 6 million hectares of them every year since 2000? A single hectare is the equivalent of nearly 2.5 acres, meaning that every year we clear over 14 million acres of forest. This loss of coverage is not only potentially harmful to humans as our ecological footprint grows, but it is also devastating to several endangered species who call the rainforest their home. Due to factors such as deforestation, pollution and climate change, more than 36% of species—both plant and animal—assessed by the IUCN are considered threatened. While the gradual extinction of a species is natural, what we are dealing with currently is the greatest mass extinction since the prehistoric period. In the past, there have been five mass extinctions, but one thing separates this one from the rest: the fact that this one is the fault of mankind.

The World Wildlife Fund reports that 1.5 earths would be required to meet our current ecological footprint. As humans, we pride ourselves on our advancement and our progress, but these all come with a cost—a cost too high for our planet to manage. Because we do not see the extent of the consequences now, it is like we are taking out a loan without considering the interest. When it comes to student loans, there is often an option to defer payments until a number of months after graduation, but these things catch up to us. The difference, though, is that when it comes to the environment, we do not pay with money—we pay with lives.

Whether it is right or wrong, I think self-destruction can be viewed as a romantic concept, though it is equally or more tragic. Addicts are often the face of self-destruction, slaves to their own minds, willing to sell their souls in a moment of desperation for something temporarily pleasurable—but it is not only substance abusers who do this. I think that as a species, we have a chronic issue with tunnel vision. It blocks out the consequences and nearly silences the conscience so that nothing stands between us and our goals. In my opinion, what we do to the earth is comparable to being a guest in someone’s home and taking the liberty of putting prices on parts of it or clearing sections to build something we think is better—but if we do such a thing, what will we do when the sun sets and we find we've exploited our only shelter and have nowhere to sleep at night?

Over 16,000 species are considered to be endangered by the IUCN. While it is my belief that this fact alone should be enough to shake your moral compass, I realize that we are creatures prone to the question, “how does that affect me?” and so perhaps this will get your attention: many of the same things that are wiping out species of plants and animals have the potential to do the same to us. Every day, do we not breathe in the same polluted air and do we not also suffer from our overexploitation of resources, just as the animals do? In addition, some call rainforests "nature's medicine cabinet," but the rainforests aren't our only important biomes. The Nature Conservancy estimates that 51% of drugs used to fight cancer come from nature and in particular, coral reefs. Despite this, 99% of our oceans are left unprotected. If we continue to abuse the things that are vital not only to plants and animals, but also to ourselves, are we not digging our own graves? Everything comes with consequence and this is no exception. By contributing to habitat loss, pollution and global warming, we threaten all species—including our own.

As humans, we have this idea that in order to be successful, mankind must conquer those we have labeled as being beneath us, ignoring the fact that we often harm our own in the process—but what is it that makes a man that is worth praising? One who would conquer the vulnerable and put his own at risk in the process, ignoring the consequences so that he might attain glory? Or one who would choose not to do harm to any, sacrificing glory so that he might hear the cries of the voiceless? In the past, many have fit into that first description. They say our way is just human nature, but I say that if we do not make a change, human nature will be our downfall.


International Union for Conservation of Nature. “Why Is Biodiversity in Crisis?” IUCN. Web. 11 April 2015.

World Wildlife Fund. “What Is An Ecological Footprint?” World Wildlife Fund. Web. 12 April 2015.

IUCN 2015. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. 15 April 2015.

The Nature Conservancy. "Coral Reefs and Cancer: Coral Reefs Saved My Life." The Nature Conservancy. Web. 17 April 2015.

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Points: 52
Reviews: 3

Tue Oct 11, 2016 2:17 pm
Ziqdirection97 wrote a review...

Hi there! I have to say, this is a great article and a lot of credit should be bestowed here for your commitment towards the environment. So, overall, you almost got all of the facts right and no such major grammatical errors and so forth. Great article overall and one that I truly admire on since I too care for the environment. Here are some of my opinions and comments regarding your topic in mind.

I personally think that the whole world is going nuts just because of wealth and power until they wouldn't care less about the consequences of their actions especially towards the environment. Well, this is actually a world fault and the world's leaders then did not care about the environment or even what's happening outside of their respective countries. I say, each country is just "selfish" and as they keep improving their own land, others are just washed away by poverty and the environment then soon follows up. As a punishment, God sent all of those natural disasters to each "selfish" country. No offence on which or who, but it is all of mankind's fault nonetheless.
So, since this destruction is all caused by mankind, therefore, the only one who can solve it is none other than mankind himself. It takes the whole world to get planet Earth in shape again and if the world's leaders unite to overcome this issue as well as others still happening in this world such as poverty, racism, and so forth, then it may not to be too late to do so. I hope for a better world than this and let's work together to bring peace and harmony to both mankind and the environment. Well, let's just say a win-win for both man and nature.
So, that's all from me and really love to read this and hope it will open the eyes of the world. Cheers!

From Malaysia! ;)

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Points: 621
Reviews: 1

Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:10 pm
Slightlysadoatmeal wrote a review...

Um hi? Wtf is this humans are fixing the earth not destroying it??.. Get your facts straight you gay piece of stale bread. I recycle and so does my neighbor Michelle...? There are like a lot of people who use solar chargers instead of plug in ones that use electricity so pls stfu u don't even know. And like r u for real? The dinarsours left earth by choice ok? Read a book k bye sweetie.

pretzelsing says...

Please do not write such discouraging reviews to an author.This is very very highly insulting and wrong and bad. There is a real person that wrote this behind the screen with feelings and emotions. I can't believe you would write this! I think that this essay was very informative, and written from true sources. And please,watch your tongue,or rather keyboard while writing. Thanks x.x

Random avatar

I think she's just trolling me, it actually made me laugh. But thank you for your kindness! :)

Iggy says...

Uh, that was unnecessarily harsh and offers no helpful criticism, therefore not a real review. There were so many kinder ways you could've stated your opinion. Please offer real, helpful, and non-condescending feedback next time.

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86 Reviews

Points: 1287
Reviews: 86

Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:47 am
WaltzingDreams wrote a review...


Aspiring article you have here. A really good Editorial, I must say. Speaks well and is informative. The format for the sourcing was also correct. I salute you to that! *salutes* There were hardly any grammatical mistakes I noticed. Good structure and flow of the idea. Praise for your strong words for your argument!

While the gradual extinction of a species is natural, we are currently facing something very unnatural. We are currently dealing with the greatest extinction crisis since the dinosaurs became extinct and what makes this extinction very different is that this one is the fault of mankind.
This part could be improved by combining the two sentences: While the gradual extinction of a species is natural, currently we are dealing with the greatest extinction crisis since the prehistoric era. What differs with our present environment's extinction crisis and those of the past is that, this time, it is the fault of mankind.

The second paragraph's last sentence could use a closing about the environment, connecting it again with the topic. "Addicts" should be not be capitalized.

Another thing here is that you suddenly lost track of the main topic of the environment around the fifth paragraph. I see the potential and the spirit of your writing and the charisma your voice says, but to attach it to this topic is a little far fetched, considering that your title was "The Extinction, The Environment and The Consequences: Why You Should Care." The next paragraphs no longer give a sketch of your title, though I can see that you have connected the environmental issue with human nature and it being our downfall. It would've worked out if the title was more appropriate, explaining that it was an Editorial or a personal insight on the matter.

It was a good one, I see journalist material here! :D Or more of a debater? Whichever, both suit this writing of yours!

Good job and good luck with more of your writings!

(i also take review requests, don't be shy! :) )

Random avatar

Oops! "Addicts" was supposed to begin a new sentence, but somewhere in the editing I must've accidentally deleted the period.

And I also see what you mean with your suggestion of combining the two sentences in the first paragraph. Reading it now, I see that I could've made it flow easier.

My fifth paragraph was originally meant to be the closing paragraph, originally for a different title as well, but I totally see what you mean. It seems side-tracked. Thank you for your review! :)

Random avatar

Does it sound better if I take the fifth paragraph out?

It would make a good closing. Just revise it a little, steering it back to the topic :)

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26 Reviews

Points: 2064
Reviews: 26

Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:35 am
PrinceofTerror wrote a review...

This is the first article/essay that I have read in this site, and I could say that the factual numbers given were used well as your ground in giving your opinion on what was really happening around us.

I lived in the Philippines, and I'd say that environmental problems, not just deforestation but also garbage being thrown in the river, or piece of paper in our drainage, are continuing to grow with each generation. Humans are starting to care less as long as they're wealth keeps on piling up.

This is an eye-opening article. Great! :)

The only person I know for certain I am better than is the person I used to be.
— CandyWizard