The hidden crisis shaping life on earth

Source: BBC News

By Georgina Mace

The year I was born, the little-known bubal hartebeest was vanishing from the wild. Aggressively hunted and squeezed from its natural habitat, this North African resident became the latest victim of the ‘sixth great wave’ of mass extinction.

How has the world changed in your family’s lifetime? By entering your birth year, and an older relative’s, you can discover the global changes that have taken place during your life.

From carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, to society-shaping inventions and species extinctions  – see the big changes over your family’s generation with the BBC’s Global Change Calculator.

Extinction has always been a part of life on Earth. But mass extinctions – including the one that ended the dinosaurs’ reign 65 million years ago, and the one that we’re on the brink of today – are much more rare. A mass extinction event is defined as one that far exceeds the normal, or ‘background’ rate of species extinction. And the ‘background’ rate is benchmarked by looking at the fossil record.

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