Are we failing as stewards of creation? Scientists warn Earth is dying
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On the sixth day, God gave man stewardship over the creatures of the Earth. With stewardship comes responsibility. According to scientists, we have not managed that responsibility well.
We are filling up our oceans with plastic trash, choking and killing our sea creatures.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Earth is in the middle of the sixth mass extinction event in its history. Previous mass extinctions have destroyed as much as 90 percent of life on the planet and were all caused by natural calamities, such as supervolcanic eruptions and asteroid impacts. The last mass extinction was 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs were wiped out following the impact of a massive asteroid.
The present mass extinction is being caused by humans alone. Climate change, habitat destruction, and overharvesting are stripping the planet of its biodiversity. The causes of this behavior are clear, human appetite and greed.
Reports from several agencies agree on the facts: two species of vertebrates go extinct every year. Almost half of all amphibian species face extinction. Amphibians matter because they are considered bellwethers for habitats. If the amphibians die, the habitat follows. The bees are dying at a rate so alarming scientists are scrambling to develop artificial pollination techniques. If the bees die, we die. And world fishing stocks have been reduced to critical levels. Billions of people who live near the world's oceans depend on these stocks for their survival. Fishing rates remain unsustainable.
Forests are being decimated to provide paper, and lumber, and fuel. Millions of acres are simply burned each year to clear new land for farming and ranching. Coral reefs are dying due to ocean acidification and hotter temperatures. The permafrost is defrosting around the Arctic due to global warming, releasing methane into the atmosphere, a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.
Scientists also agree that about one dozen species of all kinds go extinct each day, a rate that is about 10,000 times higher than normal.
- Two species of vertebrate, animals with a backbone, have gone extinct every year, on average, for the past century.
- Currently around 41 per cent of amphibian species and more than a quarter of mammals are threatened with extinction.
- There are an estimated 8.7 million plant and animal species on our planet and about 86 percent of land species and 91 percent of sea species remain undiscovered.
- Of the ones we do know, 1,204 mammal, 1,469 bird, 1,215 reptile, 2,100 amphibian, and 2,386 fish species are considered threatened.
- Also threatened are 1,414 insect, 2,187 mollusc, 732 crustacean, 237 coral, 12,505 plant, 33 mushroom, and six brown algae species.
- The global populations of 3,706 monitored vertebrate species - fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles - declined by nearly 60 per cent from 1970 to 2012.
- More than 25,000 species of 91,523 assessed for the 2017 'Red List' update were classified as 'threatened'.
- Of these, 5,583 were 'critically' endangered, 8,455 'endangered', and 11,783 'vulnerable'.
So what does this mean? An ecological collapse could occur in as little as a century. We will see food shortages, famines, and the emergence of new diseases brought on by contact with ever-more exotic organisms and the diseases they carry. Shortages also mean warfare is likely, as people compete over dwindling resources.
If we see ourselves as stewards of creation, then we ought to feel ashamed. Our insatiable appetite and boundless greed have cause us to consume the entire planet. The planet could sustain us virtually forever, except we want more than enough.
We have not learned lessons taught countless times throughout history. When God led the Israelites out of Egypt, He provided manna from heaven for them. Yet, those who were greedy, and attempted to store more than they could eat, found the next morning it had spoiled. We face the same fate today, as we attempt to hoard more than we need.
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