The Sixth Extinction—Fascinating and Scary!

the sixth extinctionHere’s a new book I finished that I think you’ll like.  The Sixth Extinction–An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert.   In an effort to read more science related books, I read hers.  She’s a journalist who traveled all over the world interviewing scientists about this issue—so she writes in an interesting and informative way.  I can understand it!

She starts by looking at the oceans and how much carbon they’re absorbing from all the carbon humans are dumping into the atmosphere.  What’s the effect on marine life and the quality of the water?  She follows the history of other creatures that have become extinct are on the edge right now.

The “sixth extinction” refers to the fact there have been five previous major extinctions of plants/animals in the world’s history.  (Think of the dinosaurs)  Among many fascinating ideas she has are these:

1.  The oceans are absorbing so much carbon that the temperature and acidity of the water is changing—for the worse.  Kolbert travels to remote areas where the marine life can be observed and recorded.  Not good.  The problem is, as the small life creatures become extinct, so do the larger life creatures like fish.

2.  The changing of the earth has disproportionate affects on many animals.  The extension of humans into areas where we haven’t been before, pushes the local animals out—who, in turn—push others out.  Many can survive these changes but others can’t.  It threatens to start a break-down in the food chain, leading to a sixth extinction.

3.  The sixth extinction for everything—plants, animals, and even humans—will come from us.  We are the first creatures in the history of the planet with the power to alter things to such a point that we could make everything extinct!

Scary but true.

If you’re interested in expanding your knowledge of science topics, this is a great book to start with.

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About Colin Nelson

Colin T. Nelson worked for 40 years as a prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis. He tried everything from speeding tickets to first degree murder. His writing about the courtroom and the legal system give the reader a "back door" view of what goes on, what's funny, and what's a good story. He has also traveled extensively and includes those locations in his mysteries. Some are set in Southeast Asia, Ecuador,Peru, and South Africa. Readers get a suspenseful tale while learning about new places on the planet. Colin is married, has two adult children, and plays the saxophone in various bands.

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