The Sixth Extinction Book Cover

The Sixth Extinction

an Unnatural History
Publishing Year: 2014
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The Sixth Extinction is a book by the award winning journalist, Elizabeth Kolbert. The book studies the relationship between humans and the environment or nature. Scientists all over the world have been monitoring the sixth extinction. The five previous mass extinctions were devastating, however the sixth extinction is said to be one that will put all the others to shame. All over the world, various species have been going extinct and it is high time we acknowledge the faults of the human race. Scientists predict that it will be as impactful as the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. The book concludes by saying that human beings and human behavioral patterns are on the verge of causing a global mass extinction. Through this book the author provides us with a moving story about the theory and evolution of extinction. The author urges us to take notice of the disappearances around us. She also says that the sixth extinction is most likely to be the most devastating one. Through these moving accounts, one wonders what humanity truly means.

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Lesson 1. The vanishing of species and threat on wildlife.

The earth has faced five major extinctions in the past. This extinction is the sixth one that the earth may face in the short span of time since the planet has come into existence. Many species of animals and plants are subject to extinction during this phenomenon. The author introduces us to various species, some which have already faced extinction and others who are on the brink of it.  

Scientists have already documented the process of extinction for many species of salamanders, frogs and various other amphibians. The panamanian golden frog, the great auk, stag horn coral and the Sumatran rhino have all been victims of extinction. Extinction is not just restricted to animals, as various types of corals are also going extinct. All over the world, the amount of undeveloped land is reducing by the minute. Forests are getting torn down to make roadways, building spaces and industrial areas. 

Extinctions in the past, even those caused by natural calamities like asteroids or volcanic eruptions, left the earth in a state that took it a few million years to recover from the lasting damage. Research papers studying the meteor that hit Mexico, conclude by saying that the meteor did not only kill thousands of plants and animals immediately. It caused the climatic conditions of the Earth to change permanently. This in turn impacted the generations of life and vegetation that followed.

Estimations of extinctions vary to a great extent now. Scientists determine that around 17,000 to 100,000 species fall extinct each year. Even if we take into account the lowest figure proposed, the estimate of 17,000 is alarming in itself. If this rate continues, we may have to say goodbye to half of the flora and fauna present on Earth by 2100. The reason why there have been a lot of discussions and debates on the topic of the sixth extinction is that plants and animals today are going extinct at a rate faster than that of the birth of new species to replace them. The previous decades saw the rate of extinction go up higher than ever. The researchers and scientists originally thought that new species would emerge to replace them. However, their studies and researches have proven otherwise. The sixth extinction, because of all these reasons, is believed to be the most alarming of them all. 



Lesson 2. The study of extinction and the myths around it. 

The world was shaken into awareness the day Georges Cuvier put forth his notion on extinction. Georges Cuvier, a French naturalist and paleontologist, changed the way the world

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About the author

Elizabeth Kolbert Image

Elizabeth Kolbert, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, illuminates pressing environmental issues in works like “The Sixth Extinction.” Her compelling narrative style and scientific rigour explore humanity’s impact on the planet...

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Chapter List
  • Lesson 1. The vanishing of species and threat on wildlife.
  • Lesson 2. The study of extinction and the myths around it. 
  • Lesson 3. Unlike the five extinctions in the past that took place because of natural causes, man is responsible for the sixth one. 
  • Lesson 4. Humans are responsible for the extinction of species. 
  • Lesson 5. The correspondence of humans and invasive species. 
  • Lesson 6. Water pollution and its effects. 
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FAQs

In the summary of The Sixth Extinction book, there are 6 key lessons. These lessons include:

  1. Lesson 1. The vanishing of species and threat on wildlife.
  2. Lesson 2. The study of extinction and the myths around it. 
  3. Lesson 3. Unlike the five extinctions in the past that took place because of natural causes, man is responsible for the sixth one. 
  4. Lesson 4. Humans are responsible for the extinction of species. 
  5. Lesson 5. The correspondence of humans and invasive species. 
  6. Lesson 6. Water pollution and its effects. 

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert was published in 2014.

Once you've completed The Sixth Extinction book, We suggest reading out The Hidden Life of Trees as a great follow-up read.

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In the printed version of The Sixth Extinction book have over 300 pages and usually takes 8-10 days to finish. However, with the Wizdom app, including its summary and audiobook, it can be completed in just 15 minutes.

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