I think because another birthday of mine just rolled around the corner, and seeing my children look so grown up lately, I’ve been wondering how the world will look for them in another 10 to 20 years. Then I happened to come across an article about the sixth major extinction event and it really had me thinking … OK, I’m only 53, even if it’s a bit late in the game, I’m going to give it all I have.
Think about this: we hear so much about the extinction of tigers, the loss of rhinos, elephants and polar bears but what if, instead, one day we looked out our window to see 75% fewer birds, squirrels or deer. Earth has experienced five mass extinction events. The first was 445 to 440 million years ago, with 80% of all species lost. The second was about 359 million years ago. The third – and worst – occurred 252 million years ago, with 95% of species wiped off the planet. The fourth was 201 million years ago, and then, the most notable of all was 65 million years ago when an asteroid slammed into Earth, changing its climate dramatically wiping out the dinosaurs. The common thread in all the events is the major changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere, the chemistry of the ocean and particularly the carbon cycle (the key to making Earth capable of sustaining life).
We need to get outside and do something! Anything more than merely hoping this doesn’t happen again. Survival begins with action. Sweaty, grimy volunteer hours that repair salmon-spawning creeks. Riding bikes to the grocery store. Planting trees for fun. Putting out some rain barrels. Growing our own veggies. I don’t really want to eat less meat, and I admit I find it a bit of a chore to recycle. But I’m going to keep trying. I’ll go outside and ride and run and hike and experience this incredible natural world as best I can, so I can stay connected to what’s most important: our humanity.