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Inheritors of the Earth review - embrace the biological revolution

The human age is one of extinction, but Chris D Thomas's book paints a provocatively optimistic picture of new species diversityHumans now dominate the planet so heavily that we are pushing wild animals and plants into oblivion. Since 1970, the world's wildlife populations have halved, and it's not slowing down. In this new human age, the Anthropocene, we use more than half of the world's land for our food, cities, roads and mining; we use more than 40% of the planet's net primary productivity (that's everything produced by plants and animals); and we control three-quarters of all fresh water. We are the most numerous big animal on earth and the next in line are the animals we've created through breeding to feed and serve us. Our planetary changes are on such a scale that one in five species is now threatened with extinction, roughly 1,000 times the natural rate.We are, biologists warn, entering the sixth mass extinction event in Earth's history. To put this into perspective, previous such events, including the one that killed off the dinosaurs, were the result of cataclysmic activities such as giant asteroid impacts or supervolcanic eruptions. This one is down to us. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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