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Throwing Our Friends Overboard?

Science Advances, an online science journal, just released a new study that shows we are squeezing other species off the earth. The piece is called “Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction“.

The study takes into consideration many other factors that may be tilting the data, and still comes to the conclusion that we have triggered a large die-off.

From the paper’s abstract: “Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 114 times higher than the background rate.” For those who care, the Pope’s encyclical mentions species extinction 5 times.

These are our friends and relatives that our progress is killing off. We haven’t chosen to eliminate them – we have simply bumbled into a kind of mass murder. None of us take any joy at what is happening. As my new friend Pope Francis says, ” … we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement.”

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