Summer Reading- The Sixth Extinction
If you are looking to change up your summer reads with something a little scarier, try Elizabeth Kolbert’s 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner ‘The Sixth Extinction’. Earth has seen five mass extinction events throughout history, the Ordovician, the Late Devonian, the Permian (the big one that took out the first dinosaurs), the Triassic, and the Cretaceous (bye bye dinosaurs, hello mammals). All were caused by a cataclysmic shift in environmental conditions and now some scientists think humanity may be the source of the sixth extinction, the Anthropocene.
Using both scientific data and anecdotes, Kolbert explores the massive changes human beings have made to the planet and the consequences. The book dives into the huge array of species the earth has already lost like the American Mastodon, and chronicles the work of researchers desperately trying to save those on the brink, like the Javan Rhino, of which there are less than fifty, all living in a single wildlife preserve. As a writer for the New Yorker, Kolbert brings dry whit to a difficult topic and makes us rethink the impact we have on the planet.
“The current extinction has its own novel cause: not an asteroid or a massive volcanic eruption, but one ‘weedy’ species”.
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