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On the first day of 2023, Stanford scientists went on the program “60 Minutes” to discuss the global mass extinction crisis with CBS’ Scott Pelley.
Source: 60 Minutes/YouTube
The scientists, unfortunately, did not have good news. Scientists from Stanford University warned that civilization as we know it will end in the next few decades.
Tony Barnosky, a Stanford biologist who works with fossil records to map changes in ecosystems over time, said that his work suggests that extinction rates are moving 100 times the rate that was typically seen in Earth’s known history of four billion years.
Barnosky said on 60 Minutes that such a rapid population loss means that Earth is currently experiencing the worst mass extinction episode since the dinosaurs. While Earth has previously been able to recover from these events, the majority of life that exists on the planet at the time has not.
“I and the vast majority of my colleagues think we’ve had it,” Barnosky’s colleague Paul Ehrlich, told Pelley, “that the next few decades will be the end of the kind of civilization we’re used to.”
The scientists say that even if humans manage to survive in some capacity, the impacts of mass extinction will cause modern human society to crumble.
“I would say it is too much to say that we’re killing the planet, because the planet’s gonna be fine,” said Barnosky. “What we’re doing is we’re killing our way of life.”
90-year-old researcher Ehrlich told 60 Minutes that the problem is “too many people, too much consumption and growth mania.”
“Humanity is not sustainable. To maintain our lifestyle (yours and mine, basically) for the entire planet, you’d need five more Earths,” Ehrlich said. “Not clear where they’re gonna come from.”
“Resources that would be required, the systems that Support our lives, which of course are the biodiversity that we’re wiping out,” the 90-year-old researcher added. “Humanity is very busily sitting on a limb that we’re sawing off.”
Cutting your carbon footprint is the surest way to minimize the amount of warming greenhouse gas emissions entering the atmosphere. While you can do many little things like shutting off lights when you leave your house, choosing to walk instead of drive, and switching over to energy-efficient appliances – there is one simple action that often goes overlooked that has the highest positive impact: eating plant-based.
Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined. In addition, this industry occupies 45 percent of arable land, uses 23 percent of global freshwater resources, and is responsible for rampant deforestation, water drought, and air Pollution. By shifting away from meat and dairy products and choosing plant-based alternatives instead, you can help lower this rate of destruction. In just one year of eating plant-based, you can halve your carbon footprint – that’s pretty powerful!
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Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
- Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take the initiative by standing up against fast fashion Pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that raise awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
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- Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
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- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, Donate if you can, grow your food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!