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“The Earth’s Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert in her book The Earth’s Sixth Extinction aims to discover the reasons and peculiarities of the sixth extinction claiming that human activity plays a significant role in this process.

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The journalist traveled with the scientists around the world to conduct experiments and measure the hazardous impact of human activity on the ecosystem and marine life. According to the results of the expedition, the conclusion that was made by Elizabeth Kolbert is astonishing. She claims that the planet has already faced five periods when the life was destroyed because of certain catastrophes (Block & Kolbert, 2014).

Such events were caused by external conditions and geological forces, however, now the human being is the one who is responsible for the actions that can lead to severe consequences and cause the sixth extinction. One of the most dramatic extinctions happened around sixty millions of years ago and resulted in killing the dinosaurs. The primary reason for the fact that the life was destroyed was the asteroid.

The journalist compares the actions of people with the asteroid that has enough power to destroy everything and lead to the sixth extinction. The hazardous impact of the human activity is evident and undoubted; moreover, the changes happen too rapidly. The pollution of the atmosphere with CO2 and water emissions influence the planet in a significant way (Block & Kolbert, 2014).

People change the world every day, and nature reflects these changes by global warming and natural cataclysms. As a matter of fact, the human activity is the reason some animals and on the Red List, they are endangered. The list is getting bigger every year. According to the scientific research provided by the journalist, the 25% of mammals, 70% of reef-building corals, and almost the half of the amphibians are on the Red List (Block & Kolbert, 2014).

Elizabeth Kolbert, in her book, aims to examine the everyday impact on nature caused by people. Human being is dangerous for the planet. Despite the fact, that the author of the book is sure that humankind amazes with an ability to use critical thinking, intelligence, is able to collaborate, create a society, and is able to foster the process of evolution, she notes that every change made by people has a tremendous effect on the environment. Nowadays people try to do their best to save spices, for example, “an institute for conservation research near San Diego” aims to take care of the spices that are on the Red List (Block & Kolbert, 2014). The research center is focused on saving the population of the Hawaiian crow as they are endangered.

I do not profess to be an expert regarding the subject, but I am strongly convinced that Elizabeth Kolbert is right, and human activity is a fundamental thing that causes the sixth extinction. This period is characterized by the fact that people are responsible for all the dramatic changes in the environment. The society is dangerous and destroys everything around. The impact that has already been made is impressive as the human has already interfered in nature.

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Radioactive power, CO2 emission, water and air pollution, oil spills, and factories are the factors that contribute to the sixth extinction. There are three ways the human being is influencing the environment, namely atmosphere pollution and changing the chemistry of oceans, altering the surface of the planet, and moving species from their original habitat. The only solution to reduce the negative impact is to become environmentally friendly and take care of nature.


Block, M., & Kolbert, E. (2014). The Earth’s ‘Sixth Extinction’ May Be One Of Our Own Making. Web.

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