Anthony Barnosky is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and he's one smart dude. He's just written a brilliant essay entitled "10 ways you can help stop the sixth mass extinction".
As we all know, we are living in an age of biodiversity crisis. Some believe we could lose up to three-quarters of all species on Earth in the coming century.
Others believe the extinctions will be less severe, but even optimistic estimates suggest the age of humans -- the Anthropocene -- could be one of the greatest extinction events in Earth's 4.5-billion year history.
Barnosky emphasizes that there's still time to avoid the Sixth Mass Extinction, but we need to pull our thumbs out and get moving -- today.
We briefly summarize his 10 key messages below. See his original essay for details about each suggestion:
1. Spread the word, to your family, friends, co-workers, and social media circle: the extinction crisis is real.
2. Reduce your carbon footprint.
3. Buy products from companies committed to using sustainably produced palm oil in their products.
4. Eat fish from only healthy fisheries.
5. Eat less meat.
6. Never, ever buy anything made from ivory -- or from any other product derived from threatened species.
7. Enjoy nature.
8. Adopt a species or become a citizen scientist.
9. Vote for and support leaders who recognize the importance of switching from a fossil-fuel energy system to a carbon-neutral one, who see the necessity of growing crops more efficiently, whose economic agenda includes valuing nature, and who promote women's rights to education and healthcare.
10. Don't give up.
Bottom line: We are not doomed to any particular fate, but we will be if we fail to confront the growing extinction crisis.
A planet that's too hostile to sustain much biodiversity will not be a good place for people to live either.