Extinction, stop? or let it happen?

Extinction is a part of natural selection process that has been recurring before the existence of human species. The causes of natural extinction ranged from natural climate change, astroid impact, volcanic eruption, etc. Some species went extinct, while remaining species flourished and adopted to the new environment. Living organisms were given some time to adapt and flourish in the event of sudden or gradual change in the environment.

However, human-induced extinctions is happening at a rate that does not allow enough time for organisms to adapt. Unlike most species, humans have the capabilities of changing the environment as they see fit rather than other way around. Technology, agriculture, mining, and energy industry have allowed humans to prosper, but the effect of industrialization has been devastating to the environment. Due to human intervention, including habitat destruction, overexploitation, introduction of alien species, etc., increasing number of species are going extinct at an alarming rate. Extinction of individual species may seem trivial, but it can have disastrous effect on the ecological balance.

For example, extinction of honey bee may be detrimental to ecological balance as a colony of honey bees pollinate thousands of flowers, allowing plants to reproduce. I’ve recently read about how labors of honey bee is expendable—that humans do a better job of pollination, and the access to honey bee is just a matter of free labor. Nevertheless, replacing the labor of honey bees is limited to agricultural industry, and the actual impact of the extinction on the natural habitat is thought to be far more damaging.

Extinction may not be inherently good or bad—it allows majority of species to die out, while the surviving species have more room to evolve new traits to fit into the new ecological niche. It may be merely a cycle of domination of certain group of species and passing of the species. However, it is in our interest to ensure that the existing condition remains steady, and minimize abrupt changes that can disturb the ecology.

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