Essay The Sixth Extinction By Elizabeth Kolbert

Essay The Sixth Extinction By Elizabeth Kolbert

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The Sixth Extinction, a novel written by Elizabeth Kolbert, describes that the planet has been through five major extinctions. The book also makes the argument that it is currently in the midst of a sixth. The cause of this most recent extinction, according to the author and her findings in this book, is humans. Though she does not come right out and say that mankind is responsible for this phenomenon, the point becomes clear as you read along chapter to chapter. Kolbert proves this point by writing about a specific instance in each chapter in which a species is going extinct or is already extinct due to human impact. She also elaborates on how, whether directly or indirectly, the humans have done detrimental damage to the planet. To me, this all seemed quite depressing and embarrassing for the human race. The purpose of the novel was also unclear, due to the majority of the book being about how horrible people are to the planet. However, despite the doom and gloom described in the first twelve chapters, Kolbert ends the novel by saying how humans can help reverse their negative effects on Earth. In addition, she also gives examples of how this is currently happening. The ending, in my opinion, ended the book on a more positive note and does not make humans out to be such the bad guys after all.
In the particular chapter I chose to analyze, Chapter Six: “The Sea Among Us”, the author explains how the oceans are absorbing growing levels of carbon dioxide in the air. As a result, this occurrence creates carbonic acid in the sea. This acid is lowering the pH levels in the oceans and effectively killing off a large number of our marine life. The rising amounts of carbon dioxide in the air is due to humans emitting mo...

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... As a result, she wants everyone else to feel the same. By giving the readers a specific example of how their actions directly affect other species, she hopes to convince them to change their ways, or at least be conscious of their impact on the world.
In closing, the pentad identified and analyzed supports the author’s reason for writing this novel. The pentad focuses on the main point of the chapter, therefore choosing it for my analysis was obvious. The fact that humans are producing more and more fossil fuels all the time, therefore killing off marine life, is just one out of the many instances of how humankind is harmfully affecting the planet. By describing humans as the reason for the destruction to marine life, Kolbert is able to effectively and easily back up her overall claim that we are to blame when it comes to the sixth extinction of species.

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