(TIML SCIENCE) Any rational person knows we’re all going to die, but the choose-your-own-adventure part about life is that nobody really knows when they, in particular, are going to die. Well, scientists at Stanford University have done their science thing and reached the conclusion that we may all die, collectively as a species, sooner than we originally thought. According to their research, we’re already in the beginning phases of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction. WTF!!!!
Stanford University Professor Paul Ehrlich, who worked on the paper, told The Guardian:
“The time to act is very short. It will, sadly, take a long time to humanely begin the population shrinkage required if civilisation is to long survive, but much could be done on the consumption front and with ‘band aids’ [such as] wildlife reserves, diversity protection laws, in the meantime.”
That’s a pretty eerie statement, and the scientists go on to make some even more terrifying remarks in the study. “The resulting biological annihilation obviously will have serious ecological, economic and social consequences,” the researchers wrote. “Humanity will eventually pay a very high price for the decimation of the only assemblage of life that we know of in the universe.”
They looked at 27,600 various vertebrate species, and within that sample size, a third of each species’ population had decreased in size and range. The study also found that even the species that are not endangered have seen population declines.
Not everyone in the science world agreed with the study’s findings. Stuart Pimm, a scientist at Duke University, told The Guardian, “It is something that hasn’t happened yet—we are on the edge of it.”
That doesn’t make us feel entirely better.
The Stanford study echoes a 2014 study conducted by the World Wildlife Fund. Their research concluded that amount animals on Earth had decreased by 50 percent in the last 40 years, which is astounding.
With all that to mull over, how about a little REM?