9 of the most shocking facts about global extinction - and how to stop it

Across the world, wildlife is under severe threat.

Photo by redcharlie on Unsplash

Earth's fate and the devastation of the natural world were recently put under the microscope with the release of Sir David Attenborough's Netflix documentary A Life On Our Planet.

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Warming tropical soils may add carbon to the air

Carbon locked in soils can be emitted by bacteria. Turning up the heat on them releases more carbon.

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  • A new study shows that an increase in temperature can increase the amount of carbon released by the soil.
  • This is in line with previous studies, though this one demonstrates a larger increase than the older experiments.
  • The risk is that increasing temperatures cause a positive feedback loop.
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Rutgers-led research finds bee decline threatens crop yields

Declining bee populations could lead to increased food insecurity and economic losses in the billions.

(Photo: Sarah Dickinson)
  • Species richness among wild bees and other pollinators has been declining for 50 years.
  • A new study found crops like apples, cherries, and blueberries to be pollination limited, meaning less pollination reduces crop yields.
  • Conservation efforts will need to be made to stave off future losses and potential food insecurity.
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    'A world with no ice': Confronting the horrors of climate change

    The complacent majority needs to step up and call for action on climate change.

    • Climate change is often framed as a debate that has split society down the middle and that requires more evidence before we can act. In reality, 97 percent of scientists agree that it is real and only 3 percent are skeptical. A sticking point for some is the estimated timeline, but as Columbia University professor Philip Kitcher points out, a 4-5 Celsius temperature increase that makes the planet uninhabitable is a disaster no matter when it happens.
    • In this video, 9 experts (including professors, astronomers, authors, and historians) explain what climate change looks like, how humans have already and are continuing to contribute to it, how and why it has become politicized, and what needs to happen moving forward for real progress to be made.
    • David Wallace-Wells, journalist and New America Foundation National Fellow, says that the main goal of climate action is not to win over the skeptical minority, but to "make those people who are concerned but still fundamentally complacent about the issue to be really engaged in a way that they prioritize climate change in their politics and their voting and make sure that our leaders think of climate change as a first-order political priority."
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    Polar bears could be extinct by 2100, says heartbreaking new study

    If Arctic ice continues to melt at its projected rate, the bears will go extinct due to starvation by the end of the century according to a first-ever projected timeline.

    • A new report on climate change by the University of Toronto is projecting that most of the polar bear population could reach extinction in under 100 years due to starvation.
    • Polar bears are dependent on sea ice for hunting seals, a primary component of their diet. As temperatures rise and sea ice continues to shrink it has become increasingly challenging for the carnivores to hunt for food.
    • The Arctic is likely to have warmed more than double the amount of the global average this year compared to pre-industrial temperatures.
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