Preventing Extinction and World Change Essay example

Preventing Extinction and World Change Essay example

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Thirteen years ago, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. Of two potential locations considered (Snowflake Springs and Butte Rock) they were placed in the low-risk prey Butte Rock for the purpose of encouraging the wolves to spread out and create packs. Before and during the reintroduction project, Oregon State University researchers measured the rate of willow growth along 2.6 miles of the Gallatin River, which ran through Butte Rock and Snowflake Springs. During their study from 1998 to 2002, the researchers discovered that Snowflake Springs, where the elk were and no wolves lived, the willow growth dropped from 92% to nothing (“How Wolves Help Willows,” 4).
What was going on? Where there were no wolves and the elk had free reign of the land, they ate away the plants before said plants had a chance to mature and release more seeds to keep the cycle going. When extinction occurs, we’re not just losing the endangered species. We’re also potentially losing every species from animal to plant that is connected to it. This is what makes extinction the most pressing environmental issue that we face today.
Extinction itself has been going on since there were living things to go extinct; it has been part of Earth’s history from the very beginning, starting from the Cambrian extinction that extinguished 92% of all life on Earth, through the more recent Mesozoic extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs, and finally the pre-Cenozoic extinction that occurred at the end of the last Ice Age. Our planet has lost millions of unique species that will never be seen (outside of the imagination of artists and film special effects specialists) again. Extinction is a normal part of the natural world, and the Earth regularly purges pr...

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...tes, a unique vegetable variety every six hours, and an entire language every two weeks. Pieces of our own culture, of the very essence of humanity, are disappearing along with the animals and plants that used to dominate this world. (Glavin 3)
Extinction is no longer just a natural process. It is an enemy, slowly changing our world into a barren wasteland where life is as rare as a flower in the Arctic Circle's winter. The wolf, the tiger, the caribou, the elephant, the bison, the cheetah, the sequoia cactus, the redwood tree – all of these and so many more things are on the verge of disappearing from our planet forever. Extinction is the most pressing environmental issue of our time, because if it continues the way it is going without anything being done to counteract its causes and consequences, there will soon be no environment left for there to be debates about.

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